Paint the town red

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 5, 2003

The American Red Cross-Suffolk Chapter is always ready for disaster, but to meet the needs of those they serve, funding must be available to do so. The Suffolk Red Cross is working hard to stage a benefit befitting their name.

They want everyone to help them &uot;Paint the Town RED!&uot;

Faye Byrum, executive director of the Suffolk unit of Red Cross, said that name was chosen to first bring to mind that the American RED Cross is staging the project and secondly, the event is an excellent opportunity for people to come out and have fun.

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&uot;We are hosting the &uot;Celebrity Benefit Dinner and Auction&uot; on March 18, and we think we’re going to have a great event that everyone will truly enjoy,&uot; said Byrum. &uot;This will all take place at the Cedar Point Clubhouse and the festivities begin with a social hour at 5:30 p.m., and dinner will be served at 6:30 and the auction starts at 8.&uot;

The list of celebrity waiters and waitresses reads like a &uot;who’s who of Hampton Roads.&uot; Included in the lineup of stars is Joe Hoppel, that radio personality that will come out to help out with almost any community service project.

Joining Hoppel will be Jennifer Roberts and Jim Long, WCMS morning personalities. Joe Flanagan, famous for &uot;Joe’s Job&uot; on WVEC-TV 13, will also be on hand bringing with him Craig Moeller and Janet Roach. Mark Allen and Amy York from Oldies 92.9 will also be passing plates.

What celebrity event would be complete without &uot;The King&uot;&uot; Of course, Elvis is coming back from &uot;Motown,&uot; where he’s been hiding out and preparing for his comeback, to perform for the Red Cross. He’ll get a little help from impersonator Sterling Riggs.

More on the home front: Avis Blow of BB&T Bank; Lynette Brugeman, tourism director for the City of Suffolk; Scott Nash of Richardson & Nash Clothiers; Gail Williams of SunTrust Bank; Suffolk City Treasurer Ron Williams; Mayor E. Dana Dickens III; Delegate S. Chris Jones; the Rev. Mark Burns, pastor of Oakland Christian Church; Kandy Lewis of Denison’s, and Win Winslow of Ciba Specialty Chemicals will also light up the evening’s festivities. Heather Harkins will even leave the Norfolk Tides long enough to assist the Red Cross.

As for the auction, Byrum promised that it would be one to remember.

Auctioneer Bob McBride will delight and amuse bidders with his unique vocal talents while auctioning items like tickets to the opera and symphony, original local art, museum tickets, and romantic getaways, just to name a few.

All the items were donated to this event by area businesses and individuals.

In fact, several local businesses will help sponsor the event. Kraft Foods, Systems Co. Inc., Bennetts Creek Wholesale Nursery, Birdsong Peanuts, Duke Automotive Corp., and the Suffolk Ruritan Club are a few of those who will help.

&uot;If there are others out there who would like to be a sponsor along with this elite group, or if you want more information on the event, just call us at 539-6645,&uot; Byrum said.

The mission of the Suffolk Chapter of the American Red Cross Disaster Services is to ensure disaster planning, preparedness, community education, mitigation, and response that will provide citizens of Suffolk with quality services in a uniform, consistent, and responsive manner.

Last fiscal year, the chapter responded to 45 local disasters providing more than $38,723 in direct assistance to 153 residents. In every instance, Red Cross assistance is given free of charge.

Byrum said she is encouraged and excited by the support this fund raising event seems to be generating.

&uot;People seem eager to attend again this year,&uot; she added. &uot;We sold out of tickets for the event last year and at only $50 each, we expect to sell out again.&uot;