Celebrity Waiter Dinner raises more than $20k

Published 10:46 am Thursday, October 15, 2015

Some of Vicksburg’s most well-known names from several spheres gathered at Ameristar Casino last Tuesday for a common cause — to eliminate cancer.

The fifth annual Celebrity Waiter Dinner of Vicksburg raised $20,841, said Michelle Hill of the American Cancer Society.

“This money goes toward helping people get well, stay well, find cures and fight against cancer,” she said. “It goes toward a lot of programs and research.”

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

The American Cancer Society is the largest non-governmental funder of cancer research, Hill said. Almost every major cancer breakthrough in the last 30 years has been through research that we funded.

“This is something that Lori Burke at Ameristar has headed up every year,” she said. “It’s been going on for a long time, and Ameristar is a fabulous partner. The American Cancer Society is so thankful for the partnership with Ameristar and their commitment to ending the fight against cancer and for putting this on every year.”

Ameristar Casino Public Relations Manager and event chair Lori Burke said her favorite thing about the Celebrity Waiter Dinner is it brings together a diverse group of leaders.

“They come together for a common cause to help battle cancer,” she said. “I think it’s incredible how diverse the group is.”

Burke said it’s good to see how something as bad as cancer can really bring a big group together.

“People there come from all backgrounds and economic levels for this cause,” she said. “Cancer is something that touches all of our lives.”

Ameristar is thankful to be able to partner with the American Cancer Society on this event, Burke said, adding they look forward to making the event bigger and better for next year.

Accounting firm May and Company’s Debi Martin, a first-year celebrity waitress, spent the night serving tables dressed as Audrey Hepburn.

“I just started work here a year ago, but (May and Company has) had someone there always for the past several years for sure,” she said.

Martin said she’s been a part of a lot of fundraisers over the years, but the Celebrity Waiter Dinner was one of the most fun she’s been to.

“I love the fact that the community really came together to help with such a good cause,” she said. “It was nice to see everybody get so involved with it.”

In addition to tips earned at her table, Martin and her company earned money in advance through a tip jar left out at May and Company.

“We’re already trying to think of ways we can raise more money next year,” she said. “It’s all for a good cause.”

Celebrity waiters included Sally Bullard, District 3 School Board Representative and Main Street Market Cafe owner; Shirley Waring, president of the Vicksburg Blues Society; Vicksburg Mayor George Flaggs Jr.; State Rep. Oscar Denton; Dr. Wanda Newell from the Pigs in Flight Museum; Marion Roberson of Smith Barney; Debi Martin of May and Co.; Selena Wood of Promise Hospital; Jane Flowers, executive director of the Vicksburg Chamber of Commerce; Tim Reeves, president and publisher of The Vicksburg Post; Annette Kirklin, executive director of the Vicksburg Convention Center; Carolyn Butler from Believers of Faith Cancer Society; Felicia Gavin, executive vice president and general manager of Diamond Jacks Casino; Jordan Amborn, a teacher at Vicksburg Catholic School; Terran Kirksey of WJTV; Kristi Smith from Merit Health; and Warren County constables John H. Heggins, Troy Kimble and Glenn McKay.

For more information about the American Cancer Society, including a host of local programs, call 1-800-227-2345.