PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Last year, an Aroostook County hospital profited by arresting and jailing members of its own staff and the surrounding community.
Since The Aroostook Medical Center raised more than $20,000 with the fundraiser, it is repeating the event and hoping to benefit even more this year.
Officials from TAMC and radio broadcasters from Townsquare Media Radio Stations in Aroostook County will host the second “Rally on the Roof” event on Thursday, May 16. The 24-hour fundraiser will again benefit the Aroostook County Relay for Life Event and TAMC’s Aroostook Cancer Care Services. Children’s healthcare services at the Presque Isle hospital also will receive a portion of the funds raised this year.
Jason Parent, director of advancement for TAMC, and Lisa Miles, general manager for Townsquare Media in Presque Isle, will again camp out for the full 24 hours on the roof above the Giberson Day Surgery Unit at TAMC’s A.R. Gould Memorial Hospital on Academy Street in Presque Isle. The pair will broadcast on the radio throughout the day, encouraging listeners to donate and providing updates to the community on their progress. A live webcast also will be broadcast at www.rallyontheroof.com.
As part of the fundraising effort, community members are encouraged to pay to have a “rooftop warrant” issued for the “arrest” of someone they’d like to see serve time.
The warrant cost is $150. Once issued, the “Rally on the Roof” paddy wagon, in the form of a Crown Ambulance, will be dispatched to pick up the accused. When the arrested party arrives at the A.R. Gould Hospital, he or she will go before a mock court to be sentenced to serve time on the roof with Parent and Miles. While up there, it will be the imprisoned person’s responsibility to raise bail by calling friends and family for donations.
Funds raised by the issuing of warrants will be dedicated to the Aroostook County Relay for Life effort. Detainees will get to decide whether they are raising their bail to support TAMC’s Aroostook Cancer Care or children’s healthcare.
Last year’s event was a challenge for the rooftop dwellers and the detainees, as a whipping wind blew throughout the day. Detainees who needed bail were on their cell phones dialing quickly, searching for bail money in order to get out of the elements.
Starting small last year, organizers had hoped to raise about $5,000. But by just after noon on the first day, the goal already had been met.
“Last year was wonderful. People really got into the spirit of the event,” Miles said recently. “It’s this generosity and compassion that makes The County so special. This year, we are gearing up for a very fun, very busy 24 hours.
“At the end of the day, we hope to have shared some laughs and to make a real difference for our friends and neighbors,” she said. “It doesn’t get much better than that.”
“We have a number of new surprises in store for this year,” said Parent. “We plan to welcome new detainees into the evening after hearing feedback last year from individuals who would have issued arrest warrants for co-workers on a later shift or for family members at home.”
He added that there are several other new features aimed at bringing in more community members.
For instance, participants will be able to issue a warrant electronically.
“We have made issuing a warrant super easy this year,” explained Bobbie-Jo Caron, event coordinator.
Caron noted that Townsquare Interactive and Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems Foundation created a special website for the rally event at www.rallyontheroof.com.You can log on, watch the event unfold live via webcam, see how much money is being raised, make a payment toward someone’s bail or make a general donation.
Radio broadcasts of “Rally on the Roof” can be heard throughout the day on May 16 and on the morning of May 17 on the Townsquare Broadcasting Radio stations WQHR-FM – Q96.1, WBPW-FM 96.9 – BIG Country 96.9, and WOZI-FM 101.9 – 101.9 The Rock. People interested in making donations or issuing a “Rooftop Warrant” can do so at any time in advance of the event or during the Rally by visiting rallyontheroof.com or calling the TAMC Communication and Development Office at 768-4858.