Tomorrow is Jim Armbrister Day.
No, you won’t find that on any calendar, or even by doing a Google Search, but in Mount Airy, it is Jim Armbrister Day none-the-less.
Armbrister, known as Officer Jim to countless local young people and many others working in the local schools, has been a member of the Mount Airy Police Department for years. Much of that time he’s worked in the city’s schools through the D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program.
Through those efforts he has worked to teach young people about the dangers of illicit drug use and prescription drug abuse, and has no doubt played a role in steering who knows how many of those children and teens away from trying drugs.
In that work he has built a strong rapport with local school students, faculty and administrators in the schools. He has put a face to a uniform, showed these young people that, despite what they might see on television or in the movies, law enforcement personnel are just like anyone else, willing to be a help and a friend to those who might need it. There is no way to quantify how large of an impact that has had on those youth, many of whom are now adults working and living here.
As we detailed in an article in the June 4 edition of The Mount Airy News, Armbrister is battling liver cancer. The local schools are holding a walk/run for Armbrister beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday at the football field at Mount Airy High School as a show of support for him, and as a fundraiser to help him and his family during this trying time.
Already, the school children of Mount Airy have raised a fair bit of money for this cause —those at Tharrington Primary School raised nearly $900 in the closing days of the school year — and on Saturday raffle tickets will be sold, and donations accepted, to help him and his family defray medical and other expenses.
For those who cannot attend the event, contributions can be made at Southern Community Bank (c/o the “Jim Armbrister Fund”), at 255 Independence Blvd.
Keith Easter, a local man whose wife works at Tharrington, is one of the organizers of Saturday’s event, and he said while the fundraising is important, what would mean most to Armbrister and his family is simply to see people there, showing moral support for him in his fight against cancer.
And we hope the crowd far surpasses Easter’s wildest expectations for turn-out.