NEW PORT RICHEY — A pair of newly deputized citizens didn’t waste any time cleaning up the streets last week.
Damie and Timmy, two children who received new equipment from the nonprofit organization Wheelchairs 4 Kids, were the guests of honor April 3 at the New Port Richey Police Department. After being sworn in as Honorary Officers in the office of Lt. Mike Anderson, the kids immediately helped “arrest” several local celebrities and community leaders who will be participating in Wheelchairs 4 Kids’ 2019 Jail and Bail fundraiser, set for April 12. Nine area businesspeople, on-air personalities and professionals were led into the police station’s holding cells and taken around back to be placed in the back of a cruiser.
“It’s awesome to be part of this,” Anderson said after swearing in Damie and Timmy. “It’s for a great cause and I’m proud to put our name on it. Whatever we can do to generate money for a good cause such as this, it’s a privilege for us. We love it.”
Damie, 12, and Timmy, 8, were assisted in carrying out their newfound police responsibilities by Det. Karen Norris and Off. Kevin Liss. As the “felons” were being hauled off into cells or the back of the cruiser, Damie and Timmy were there to give the command of “throw them in jail!”
One of the busted local businesspeople participating last Wednesday was Tarpon Springs beekeeper Manoli Andropoulos of Bayshore Bees. He came decked out in full beekeeping gear and pled his case – unsuccessfully – to be set free, even trying to hand out bribes of the company’s honey.
“This is cool; I really enjoy it,” Andropoulos said. “Some of my friends asked me to do this fundraiser and I was more than happy to do it. I know it’s a noble cause and if I can do anything to help I’m happy to do it.”
Wheelchairs 4 Kids, based in Tarpon Springs, is dedicated to improving the lives of children with physical disabilities by providing wheelchairs, home and vehicle modifications and other assistive equipment at no charge to families. Damie and Timmy are two recent recipients of equipment and were at the New Port Richey Police Department with family members last week. The children and recipients are expected to be in attendance April 12 at Charley’s Steak House, in Tampa, for the Jail and Bail fundraiser. The long list of “felons” will be appearing in front of “Judges” Julie and Steve Weintraub of Gold and Diamond Source.
“This is our most successful fundraiser each year,” Wheelchairs 4 Kids Executive Director Madeline Robinson – also a “felon” during the annual event – wrote in a press release. “We are so honored that so many community leaders and celebrities are willing to not only give up their time, but to call on their friends and associates to make donations.”
Individuals wishing to support Wheelchairs 4 Kids and the Jail and Bail fundraiser can go online and donate to their favorite “felon” at https://wheelchairs4kids.org/events/meetfelons2019.