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COLUMBIA CITY ‚ÄĒ Business and community leaders in Whitley County were ‚Äúlocked up‚ÄĚ for an hour jail sentence Tuesday to raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA). The fundraiser was held at Paige‚Äôs Crossing in Columbia City from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Allison Eckert, fundraising coordinator, said the sheriff‚Äôs department was helping to pick up people and drop them off at Paige‚Äôs Crossing.
‚ÄúThey ‚Äėarrest‚Äô them and bring them in, and some people decide to turn themselves in just depending on what their schedules are,‚ÄĚ said Eckert.
When the jailbirds arrived at the event, they checked in with MDA staffer Lisa Vermecte, who acted as the judge.
‚ÄúThe charge is for having a big heart,‚ÄĚ said Vermecte.
After Vermecte tapped the gavel to the table, declaring the sentence, participants walked over to jail bars set on a table.
There, they put on a white and black striped shirt and had their picture taken as they held a sign asking for a bailout.
The ‚Äúbail‚ÄĚ was set for $2,400 for each participant, and the money is used to send three children with muscle disease in Northeast Indiana to MDA‚Äôs annual summer camp.
Eckhart said all the money raised from the event stays local.
‚ÄúThat makes them feel better knowing they are helping Whitley County families in their own community,‚ÄĚ said Eckhart.
‚ÄúWe help them with support group sessions, clinic visits to Lutheran Hospital in Fort Wayne, summer camp for kids and an allowance for equipment each year.
‚ÄúIt relives a little stress financially for them at a time when they are facing some of those really rough diseases.‚ÄĚ
One of the may ‚Äújailbirds‚ÄĚ was Bill Boggs, South Whitley Town Council member.
‚ÄúI have Muscular Dystrophy, and it‚Äôs a good cause for raising money, especially for the young kids who really need the help and need the research,‚ÄĚ said Boggs.
Boggs said he has participated in the lock up before as well as the Muscle Walk, which took place in March.
‚ÄúThe MDA, they are very good about helping families as far as if you need anything,‚ÄĚ said Boggs. ‚ÄúYou can call them up, and they‚Äôll go above and beyond to try to guide you where you need to be guided.‚ÄĚ
For more information on MDA, visit www.mda.org.