By Ron VandenBoom
The Havre Fire Department opened its doors to almost 50 big-hearted jailbirds Tuesday to raise a record $6,500 for the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA).
Liz Kampa, district director for the MDA in Montana, said the $6,841 pledged during the drive was nearly double last years figure of about $3,600.
Were very pleased with that, Kampa said. It was just a wonderful turnout.
The Havre Fire Department assisted Kampa with the day-long roundup of community members who worked the phones trying to raise their individual bail of $750 each during the one hour they were held in custody.
Kampa said none of the jailbirds were able to raise the $750 in bail money during their hour in the lock-up, but it was not uncommon to have people asking how much it would cost to keep the prisoner for more than the one-hour time period.
Vern Stremcha of Verns Auto Electric came closest to the $750 bail amount with $580 in donations and pledges.
All in all the lock-up proved to be pretty comfortable for the prisoners.
Gary and Leos IGA provided doughnuts to the morning fund-raisers and a lunch of pizza provided by the Havre Pizza Hut also made the stay bearable.
So they got better than bread and water, Kampa said, referring to the donations.
CommNet Cellular sponsored the event and provided all of the phones the prisoners used to raise their bail.
Also receiving high praise from Kampa was the Havre firefighters who she described as wonderful and more than helpful in seeing to it they had everything they needed.
Kampa said she believed one of the reasons this year had been so successful was that the community realized that MDA funds raised in this area would go to MDA Summer Camp held in June at Camp Kiwanis in Beaver Creek Park.
The camp offers children canoeing, horseback riding, softball, and other social and athletic activities. It costs $400 for each child to attend the camp.
Kampa said this was the first time she had ever raised this much money here in Havre and was looking forward to doing it again next year.
Pledge cards will be mailed today, she said.