Painting the town to raise funds

Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 6, 2005

First, it was the string of hurricanes that ravaged Florida.

Then came the devastating tsunami in Asia.

Though far away, these catastrophes have had a fiscal impact on the Suffolk chapter of the American Red Cross, said Donna Perry, spokeswoman for the organization.

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&uot;Donations that would normally have been earmarked for our chapter were designated to those disasters,&uot; she said. &uot;We need to replenish our local funds.&uot;

Suffolk residents can help by attending the organization’s 7th annual Paint the Town Red Celebrity Benefit and Auction next month. Tickets are now on sale for the March 15 event, which is being held at the Cedar Point Country Club.

Several local media, business and political &uot;celebrities&uot; will leave their professions behind to serve and entertain guests, said Perry. Servers include Maralyn &uot;Mad Dog&uot; Hershey, a contestant on &uot;Survivor: The Australian Outback;&uot; Del. Chris Jones, R-Suffolk; Mike Duman, owner of Mike Duman Auto Sales; Kerri Mattson Furey, WAVY-TV 10 anchor; John Massey, also of WAVY-TV 10; Sonny Andre, a local radio personality; Mr. Peanut; and Sandra Parker of WVEC-13.

Guests can also participate in a live auction featuring an array of donated items: a 10-day Holland America Caribbean cruise departing from Norfolk, several weekend getaways, local entertainment tickets, original local art, even a round of golf with Mayor Bobby L. Ralph.

E. Dana Dickens III, who recently stepped down from the Suffolk City Council to become CEO of the Hampton Roads Partnership, will be the auctioneer.

&uot;It will be a night of great fun,&uot; said Perry. &uot;It will have the serious outcome of raising dollars for local programs and services of the Suffolk chapter of the American Red Cross.

&uot;All of the proceeds will stay right here in Suffolk.&uot;

Last year’s event raised over $28,000, she added.Tickets are $50. Call 539-6645 for tickets.