With massive support from City of Homestead residents, staff and the Homestead Police Department, the Homestead Relay for Life “Jail & Bail” event, organized by Councilwoman Judy Waldman on April 9, exceeded even the highest expectations. A portion of the interior of the lobby at the William F. Dickinson Community Center was converted into a holding cell by the city’s own Quick Response Team and, over the course of the day, reserve officers from the city police force would bring in “scofflaws” including various residents as well as Mayor Jeff Porter, Councilman Elvis Maldonado, Parks and Recreation Director Dennis Maytan and Councilwoman Judy Waldman herself. Upon receiving bail from these and other “perpetrators,” they would be set free. Of course, the bail, in this case, amounted to a donation to benefit the Homestead Relay for Life.
Relay for Life, a yearly relay race organized by the American Cancer Society, is a widespread, global effort that involves some 20 countries and millions of participants that seek to raise money for cancer research. The event also raises awareness and honors those who have battled against this dreaded disease.
As a breast cancer survivor herself, this is an issue that really hits home with Councilwoman Waldman. “I know what it’s like to live with this disease, the terrible uncertainty that it brings, but I also know what it feels like to beat it. Anything that I can do to bring us closer to a world where cancer is curable and to empower those afflicted to summon the courage to fight this thing, then I will do it. I am so touched by the outpouring of goodwill and the tireless efforts of our city employees, police officers and other volunteers for getting this event off the ground and for making it such a giant success!”
A highly coordinated effort, the “Jail & Bail” event ended up raising in excess of 10 thousand dollars for this important cause. Among those that gave of themselves to ensure this event’s success were the entire City of Homestead Police Department Command Staff of Chief Al Rolle, Major Scott Kennedy, Capt. Marie Kent, Capt. Mallie Graham, Capt. Angela Washington and Capt. Tony Sincore. Reserve officers John Pepper, Natalie Viton, Ryan Khawly and Francisco Melo also contributed. Local vendors Krispy Kreme, Dunkin Donuts, Sonic and Pollo Tropical donated food along with volunteers who provided baked goods. Of note, much of the logistics and planning for the event was administered by Utilities employee Michael Hitt and Community Center staff member Jacki Pilkington, both of whom have lost loved ones to cancer but whose dedication to the cause can help make the future bright for those struggling with the disease.