At your command

Published 9:31 pm Wednesday, March 9, 2011

If you’ve ever wanted to boss around local elected officials or television personalities, the American Red Cross has the event for you.

Buying a ticket to this year’s Paint the Town Red event on March 18 gives you the chance to challenge your celebrity waiter to do just about anything you want — for a tip. Headstands, hula-hooping and more are all within reason.

“We’re going to have a good time,” said Faye Byrum, executive director of the Suffolk chapter of the American Red Cross. “We strive hard to make this a fun event, one that people want to come back to.”

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The event raises money for Red Cross programs in Suffolk, ranging from blood drives to the Disaster Action Team, which assists people after house fires and other disasters.

“It’s all to raise money to support the services that the Red Cross provides in Suffolk,” Byrum said.

The event will include a 10-item live auction, a silent auction with more than 80 items, a sit-down dinner, live entertainment and more.

“Everybody leaves saying that they’ve enjoyed themselves,” Byrum said. “That’s really important to me.”

Attendees are invited to challenge their waiters to do crazy tasks, Byrum said.

“It may be as simple as a neck rub for the person across the table,” Byrum said.

The celebrity waiters include city treasurer Ron Williams; Brian Williams, manager of the Hilton Garden Inn Riverfront; Darren Schultz, owner of Copico; Charlie King of Cross Realty; Ellen Drames of Rose & Womble Realty; Dr. Steven Blunt, pastor of First Baptist Church; Dave Parker and Jackson of US 106 America’s Country Radio; Dan “The Man” Banister of Nissan of Chesapeake; Rock Girl Lindsay from WNOR FM 99; Lamont Strothers, retired NBA & PBA basketball player; and Colton James, aspiring country artist.

Mike Duman, a City Council representative and owner of Mike Duman Auto Sales, will serve as the celebrity auctioneer.

“Tickets are still available, although it looks like this is going to be one of our biggest events ever,” Byrum said.

The event will be held from 6 to 11 p.m. March 18. Tickets are now available for $60 each, or two or more for $50 each. Call the Suffolk chapter at 539-6645 or visit for more information. Tickets may be charged by phone, or stop by the office on 157 N. Main St. to pay in person.