People

Get Your Bail Money Ready!

By Contributing Writer, Ed Senyk

The march for healthy babies continues as Jail and Bail enters its 60th year.  The event, which will be held on February 6, 2016 at the Masonic Temple in Port Huron, has raised over five million dollars for the March of Dimes organization.  “We help every single baby born somewhere” says Cathy Martinek, Division Director for the March of Dimes.  “All of this money goes to research, education, advocacy efforts and community programs.”

The idea for Jail and Bail began here in Port Huron by Lee Van Dam who wanted to raise money by locking up prominent citizens and then having the “prisoners” call their family and friends to bail them out.  $400 in pledges was collected that first year and the event grew bigger and better with totals reaching hundreds of thousands of dollars.  This lead to other March of Dimes organizations copying the idea and having all kinds of Jail and Bail days across the country.  “But no one does it like us on this level, where they build a jail cell and everything.” Marinek states, “We are very fortunate to have this event.”

The day is filled with fun arraignments, community figures, Keystone Kops, and plenty of entertainment.  “We will have the Schubert Choir, the Strollers, the Fiddle Club, Cody Smith, Katie Stevens, Brooke Moretz and Jerry Noble with Mike Taggert to name a few.”  Cathy said.  “We love to have the talented people in our community perform.  I am always thinking ‘who would make a great entertainer?’ ‘Who would make a great prisoner?’ ‘Who would make a great sponsor?’”

The planning that goes into Jail and Bail begins right after the event day with meetings about improving and tweaking the fundraiser.  Approximately 31 departments made up of over 200 volunteers contribute to the success of Jail and Bail such as the construction crew, prisoner recruitment, arraignments, phone table setup and many more.  “What’s really cool is so many volunteers have done it for so many years.  It’s a gathering of all different components, sponsors, prisoners and volunteers, with the main goal being to raise funds with the help of all of these people.”

The event which started out broadcasting solely on radio, can now be heard on 1380 WPHM, online WPHM.net, viewed on Comcast Channel 12 and streamed live on ebw.tv. “I love everything about this event!” Cathy exclaimed and then frowned.  “Except cleaning up.”

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About the author

Ed Senyk

Edward Senyk is a long time resident of Port Huron. He was bit by the film bug at a very young age and decided to turn his passion into his career. Edward graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Broadcast and Cinematic Arts from Central Michigan University. He now has over 35 years in award winning video production experience. Edward is the Director of Video Production at GBS Media.

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