Roast and Toast raises $15,000 for the Arc

PELHAM – The Arc of Shelby County’s first annual Roast and Toast honoring community leader Carol Bruser raised $15,000 for the advocacy agency that serves over 1,000 children and adults with developmental disabilities and their families each year with programs and services.

At the event, held Thursday, March 9, at the Pelham Civic Complex, about 150 guests enjoyed hors d’oeuvres, complimentary wine and beer and a silent auction before friends of Bruser took turn turns telling funny true and not-so-true stories and jokes about her.

Bruser, community relations manager at the University of Montevallo and program director of Leadership Shelby County, took the lighted-hearted jokes all in good fun as she sat in a throne chair wearing a crown, complete a wand and a chalice full of beer.

Shelby County Commissioner Kevin Morris served as roastmaster of the event and the roasters were Shelby County Chief Deputy Chris George, former Alabama Supreme Court Justice Patti Smith and Shelby County Commissioner Elwyn Bearden.

Morris joked that he always through that he was the only person afraid of Bruser, but what he found out while preparing for the roast is that everyone, especially her family, is afraid of her. He said it was near impossible to get any good info about Bruser from her children and husband.

“I’m sure she’s got pictures of her kids in her purse,” Morris continued as he picked up a purse near Bruser and started searching through it to find pictures. Instead what he pulled out of the purse was multiple empty wine bottles.

When it was George’s turn, he said brought a gift for Bruser to help ease the pain of what she was about to endure. He proceeded to pour beer into her chalice.

George joked that Bruser once told him that she believes her husband Buddy will live longer because he married her.

“But what she doesn’t know is that since he married her, Buddy’s been more willing to die,” George said.

Bearden, a longtime friend of the Brusers, shared with the audience some quotes from Bruser that he has yet to get over.

“One time on a cruise, she asked, ‘What time is the midnight buffet?’” Bearden said.

During a conversation with the captain of the cruise ship, Bearden said the captain mentioned that the ship was built in Finland.

“Then Carol says, ‘Well how in the world did they get this big ol’ boat all the way to Miami?’” Bearden joked.

After the roast, Bruser had a chance to retaliate. She shared embarrassing, albeit photoshopped, photos of her roasters. She shared a photo of George in his younger years as a ballroom dancer and a photo of Bearden in overalls standing next to a cow.

“But all jokes aside, I’m happy to be here this evening,” Bruser said. “I’m so proud to see that everyone showed up to support the Arc of Shelby County.”