‘Handcuffed for Habitat’ event raises more than $20,000 for cause
by David Broyles Staff Reporter
It wouldn’t be the first time persons let themselves be “arrested” and cuffed for a good cause. Mount Airy Junior Woman’s Club President Christie Speer said the “Handcuffed for Habitat” fundraiser has raised $20,500 to go towards the group’s ministry of providing decent, affordable housing for deserving local families.
“We are extremely pleased with this,” Speer said. “One of the biggest surprises for us was Alicia Torres of Eagle Carports in Cana who presented a check for $10,000 to help bail out a volunteer. We were floored. Everyone was in tears as we accepted the donation.”
Speer said the successful effort would not have been possible without the help of its volunteers. Arrestees at the Sept. 20 event included Realtor Bryant Brantley, North Carolina Rep. Sarah Stevens, Surry County Commissioner Eddie Harris, Surry Emergency Services Director John Shelton, Realtor Ellen Peric, Marie Treadwell and three club members and a spouse, Kyla Johnson, Shannon Badgett, Kelly and Andy Hull, and Nicole Ducouer of WXII 12. She said the Chick-fil-A cow mascot proved a popular draw for the event.
Speer commended the efforts of Realty World Yadkin Valley Office Manager Sue Cocca for helping organize the office space and meals for the event.
“It was the Junior Woman’s Club of Mount Airy who organized this successful event,” said Bryant Brantley of Realty World. “The initial meeting took place at Millennium Charter Academy and since I serve on the (Habitat) board of directors and have kids that go to the school it was easy for me to make the meeting. Our office was just down the road from the jail house at the Main Oak Emporium so our office was used as a holding area where volunteers could make calls to raise their bail money.”
Realty World’s Sandra Richards and Cocca also were credited with bringing the Chick-fil-A cow into the event. Little Richards Barbecue donated lunch for the event.
“The cow really raised his bail money quickly,” said Speer. “He got a lot of drive-by donations as well. We even had a competition between a husband and wife, Andy and Kelly Hull.” Habitat Interim Executive Director Neil Cothren, who is also the store manager for Lowe’s Home Improvement in Mount Airy, was another late addition to the lineup.
“I was a last minute decision to be arrested as well,” said Speer.
“Standing in the Millennium Charter Academy parking lot and asking for donations with Officer Kelly Hiatt helped me make my bail,” Speer said. “My students saw me handcuffed and thought it was funny. There were two donation collections for me. One was bail and the other was to get me tased. The last minute donations by parents and teachers helped me avoid that.”
Speer said the Woman’s Club is a group with a passion for supporting the work of Habitat. She explained each year, the president of the Mount Airy Junior Woman’s Club chooses a special project to focus on for the year. Speer, who is this year’s president, chose the theme “Act, Speak, Build,” and has helped lead projects with the Greater Mount Airy Habitat for Humanity in the past as did former president Kelly Hull.
“We did the Women’s Build Day, but this was our big thing for Habitat,” Speer said “The junior woman’s club had done this same thing in the past for Habitat, and when Lynn Wilkes was executive director, so she thought it would be a good idea to do again.” The club also helped with the spring fundraiser for Habitat.
“Raising bail really gives you perspective,” said Speer. “My 3-year-old (Alydia) had a sign which read please get my mom out of jail when I was in the cage in front of Realty World and she got a lot of donations that way. The club members all helped each other raise the bail. “
Reach David Broyles at email@example.com or 336-719-1952.
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