The Pickens County Ferst Foundation for Childhood Literacy held their annual “Jail ‘n Bail” event at the old jail on Main Street in Jasper yesterday. While the event is the only major fund-raiser held for the charity during the year, it is an occasion for some good tongue-in-cheek fun.
There were ten volunteers that allowed themselves to be listed as “Most Wanted,” to have law enforcement pick them up from their places of work under arrest, tried and then “jailed” until they were able to get their bail money together (at least $450 each). Other than the Ferst Foundation volunteers who were on-hand to be sure the hardened criminals were on good behavior were Steve Moranos of AllState Insurance who participated as the stern prosecutor, Fred Snell of Big Canoe who was the empathy-inducing defense attorney and Judge Jeff Downing of IGA Foothills who didn’t miss a beat in sentencing them to their jail time. Thanks are owed to both the Pickens County Sheriff's Office and Jasper Police Department for conducting the arrests.
The Ferst Foundation provides free books to children under the ages of five in this county and part of their mission is to encourage children to dream and learn through reading and promoting parent/family involvement in achieving early school success for their children. They also promote adult literacy by motivating and providing tools for families to read with their children.
Currently, more than 1150 children are enrolled in the program and get books monthly. A staff of volunteers assists with the program but they are listed as the local branch of the statewide Ferst Foundation which is a 501(C)(3) organization.
Preliminary estimates showed more than $10,000 raised by yesterday’s detainees. Organizer Sue Appleton exclaimed,
“What a team!!!”
“That amount of money will provide books for 333 Pickens County children under the age of five for year. This cost the parents nothing! We raise the money locally to fund the program locally. Another way to look at this amount is that it equals 4000 books along with the mailing and literacy support materials that accompany the books,”
The ten detainees were:
Mary “Blondie” Ghorley of Piedmont Mountainside Hospital, charged with “hoarding gift shop items”
Alan “Bearded Charmer” Horne of State Farm, charged with “being too neighborly”
Lionel “Train” Howell of Pepsico, charged with “pushing Pepsi”
Jesse “James” Hunter of the Retired Educators Association, charged with “holding up tennis balls”
Melissa “Short Change” Jordan of Community Bank of Pickens County, charged with “pinching pennies”
Kay “Crazy Quilt” Lawrence of Renasant Bank, charged with “keeping people in stitches”
Don “Rock” Martin of Torrey Mountain Properties, charged with “falling down on the job”
Anne “Roman” Morrow of Jasper City Council, charged with “keeping the mayor in line”
David “Mattress” Simmons of Chattahoochee Tech, charged with “failure to appear”
Dr. Carlton Wilson of Pickens County Schools, charged with “wearing multiple hats”
Although the amount raised thus far (with further donations still coming in and no final tally) is astounding, they are still dependent on donations to support and expand the program throughout the year. Contributions can be made to the Pickens County organization at Pickens Ferst Foundation for Childhood Literacy, PO Box 2062, Jasper, GA 30143.
Please see the slideshow of the fun and the video of Wilson during his “trial”.