Normally, having a couple sheriffs show up and your workplace and arrest you in front of your co-workers is a bad thing.

Not for 41 volunteers who helped the Redwood Falls United Way Oct. 22.


There’s nothing like having the sheriff and a deputy show up at your workplace and arrest you in front of your co-workers to really make your day.

At least, that’s the way it was Thursday for 41 volunteers during the Redwood Falls Un-ited Way’s first (it won’t be the last, believe me) Jail ‘n Bail fundraiser.

The idea was simple. The United Way asked for volunteers to be “arrested” for the day, then to have their friends “bail” them out, with the money going to good causes in the community.

“We were hoping for 50 volunteers who would raise $100 each,” said organizer Tanya Cook. “Our goal was to raise $5,000. 

“We got a little concerned when we only had 41 people volunteer.”

Not to worry. 

By the end of the day, the United Way raised $12,006.

A makeshift jail was set up in the Scott-Preusse car dealership showroom Thursday morning, and at 1 p.m., the prisoner round up began.

Some prisoners drove themselves in on their own recognizance, while others were hauled in by retired sheriff Rick Morris and retired dep-uty Paul DeBlieck.

“Some of the prisoners brought their donations with them, and others sat here at the phone and called people to bail them out,” said Cook.

Several companies donated both their employees for the afternoon, and matching grants for the prisoners’ bail. 

One local company ended up donating more than $2,000.

Perhaps the most fun prisoner round-up came with Cedar Mountain principal Patty Machart, who the sheriff and deputy paraded around in front of the students in full prisoner gear.

“They carried a bucket, and if the kids donated some money, they got to wear a hat in school that day. They raised over $450,” said Cook. “It’s been fun all day. 

“It was a wonderful experience.”