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Tip to cop Monday will help solve St. Jude's funding case

KINGMAN - If you only eat at restaurants once in a while, make Monday that date and make Chili's in Kingman the place you go between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Every dime of the money you spend that falls on the profit side of the ledger will go to the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.

To make it even more enjoyable, your wait staff will pit members of the Mohave County Sheriff's Office against firefighters with the Kingman Fire Department.

Each deputy or firefighter will be paired with a Chili's waiter or waitress and the side that raises the most money will have bragging rights.

Last year, things got real and the blood is bad.

Bad, that is, in a good-natured way and the antics are all in good fun.

Conspiracy theory

"Last year's fundraiser did have some concerns connected to it," said Keith Eaton, an assistant chief at the KFD, who indicated firefighters might have a chip on their collective shoulder, and maybe some dip to go with it on the other.

"There was a discrepancy about the money raised and how MCSO edged us out of being the winners of the 'Most Money Raised.' After the fundraiser was over, we had received some information that the officers did not stop taking donations at the (designated) ending time as agreed upon prior to the event. The extra 'illegal' 15 minutes put them over the firefighters ... not only did they violate that rule, we found two of our personnel handcuffed near the trash Dumpsters for no apparent reason, with their fire boots full of money (that was) missing. When asked about the arrests, MCSO said that they were detained for a 'moving violation' by walking too quickly through the restaurant harassing customers for money."

Eaton slightly softened his stance, sort of.

"I am stopping short of accusing MCSO personnel of cheating, but the proof is in the baby back ribs. This year we (firefighters) are pulling out all of the stops. I assure you that the end result may come as an embarrassment to the 'cops.' We invite the public to come witness this challenge and, of course, help the firefighters gain some revenge."

Law enforcement, however, has a different account of what occurred.

"Unfortunately, last year several of the fire personnel were apprehended running out the back door of Chili's with boots full of cash," according to Mohave County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Trish Carter.

"Alert law enforcement personnel apprehended them before they could get to their getaway vehicle, which was a large truck with a lot of chrome parked hidden in the Home Depot parking lot. All suspects were cuffed but later released because they had to get back to the station to watch the 9 p.m. news. Law enforcement officers will again prevail."

Then let's get ready to rumble - for a very good cause.

According to Tim Keller, a manager at Chili's, every restaurant the national chain operates donates all of the profits earned every Sept. 23.

This year, the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is the company's chosen beneficiary.

Founded by the late entertainer Danny Thomas in 1962, the hospital has pioneered the treatment of childhood cancer and other catastrophic pediatric diseases and is home to some of the world's most gifted researchers.

Those researchers, according to the St. Jude website, over the past 51 years have vastly improved the odds of a child surviving cancer from 20 percent in 1962 to 80 percent today.


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