Camp Rising Sun volunteer celebrity waiters Eulalie Davis, far left, and Bobby Harper, far right, get a few advance pointers Wednesday from Columbus Mugshots server Katelyn Price and General Manager Alex Thornton. Davis, Harper and other volunteers, including Mississippi State Head Football Coach Joe Moorhead, will work shifts between 5:30-9 p.m. Tuesday to raise money for the camp for children with cancer. Photo by: Luisa Porter/Dispatch Staff
May 19, 2018 10:02:50 PM
Eulalie Davis and Bobby Harper got an introduction in serving food and drinks Wednesday in preparation for their upcoming shifts as celebrity waiters. They are among 21 volunteer servers who will raise funds for Camp Rising Sun Tuesday, May 22 at Mugshots in Columbus. All tips and donations the volunteers receive from 5:30-9 p.m. will directly benefit the camp for children ages 6 to 17 who have been or are currently being treated for cancer.
"This is the first time we've had a Celebrity Waiter Night," said Camp Rising Sun board member Fred Kinder. He's been volunteering for most of the camp's 31-year history. "It's just something you can't let go," he said.
Kinder and board member Jane Ford are overseeing Tuesday's event, which was inspired by a clip Kinder saw on TV of another organization's wait night.
"I saw it and I thought, 'We could do that!'" Kinder said.
Camp Rising Sun was founded in 1987 by Junior Auxiliary of Columbus, of which Ford was a member. It is now overseen by a volunteer board committed to giving children who have received a cancer diagnosis a traditional camp experience, all while recognizing and meeting their health needs. It is offered at no charge on the Camp Pratt property in Lowndes County.
To date, about 1,800 campers have arrived for summer respites filled with swimming, arts and crafts, canoeing, fishing, zip-lining, archery and much more. Medical staff on site 24 hours a day closely monitor each participant.
Camp Pratt changed ownership earlier this year, from the Frank P. Phillips YMCA to businessman Ron Harper.
Kinder said, "I personally want to thank Ron Harper for continuing to work with Camp Rising Sun."
Moorhead to join volunteers
Camp Rising Sun and Mississippi State University have enjoyed a long relationship. Visits from MSU athletes and coaches highlight the campers' week each summer. On Tuesday, MSU head football coach Joe Moorhead is slated to join local celebrity waiters at about 5:30 p.m.
Other servers from 5:30-7 p.m. include Ruth Berry, Will Cooper, Bobby Harper, George Irby, Deborah Johnson, Stephen Jones, Ralph McLain, Tango Moore and Lisa Neese.
Servers from 7-9 p.m. are Lee Burdine, Eulalie Davis, Norman Ford, Mother Goose (Edwina Williams), Marian Hazard, Betty Clyde Jones, Ralph Null, Louis Sharp, Betty Waters and Kala White.
Davis is glad to offer her time. She has long been impressed with the dedication shown by volunteers who came together to ensure Camp Rising Sun's future years ago.
"I admire them; they persisted," she said.
Harper volunteered as an overnight counselor for several years early in the camp's history. He has seen firsthand the joy campers experience and the "tremendous commitment of the volunteers behind it."
Tuesday's Celebrity Waiter Night is a first for the Columbus Mugshots as well as for the camp.
"We're new to this, but we're excited to be able to put on a benefit for Camp Rising Sun," said Mugshots owner Jim Hicks. "It's a good program for the kids and will hopefully be a great fundraiser."
Harper said, "We're going to have fun."
Mugshots is located at 1737 Highway 45 North, in the Windchase shopping center.
Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.