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September 25, 2012

Waiting tables for charity

‘Celebrities’ help raise funds for the United Way

DUNCAN — Several county residents made the trek down the red carpet for the first ever United Way Celebrity Server Event Monday night at Peyton’s Place, making it the first fundraiser for the 2012 campaign.

Once inside after getting their photo taken by the “paparazzi,” they were greeted with the soothing sounds of saxophone from musician Jermaine Mondaine. The highlight of the evening was being served by various local celebrities, many of whom had never been waiters before.

“I’ve never served before but I’m not really nervous because we have good guidance,” said Duncan Mayor Gene Brown. “I love it because it’s really neat and it’s an opportunity to visit with a lot of good people with the same compassion for the United Way.”

Confidence was one of the keys to being a good server, which was important as every cent that the patrons tipped their celebrity servers went straight to the United Way campaign.

One of the first couples to be seated in Brown’s section was Jason and Farrah Whitaker, who said it was a joy to have the mayor for their waiter. They thought the event was a great idea.

“We really support the United Way and all it does,” said Farrah. “This was (Jason’s) first time to meet the mayor.”

Among the other celebrity servers were Stephens County Sheriff Wayne McKinney, Central High Mayor Julie McKinney, Rep. Dennis Johnson, State Senator Don Barrington, three KSWO news personalities: Monte Brown, Matthew Dipirro and Caroline Kimbrell, and Mondaine, when he wasn’t providing music.

Each celebrity server was paired with a Peyton’s Place server, who helped guide the newbies to proper waiting etiquette.

Through this guidance, the service was faster and accidents were kept to a minimum.

Additionally, the restaurant’s employees had the chance to get to know some local celebs.

“I think it’s a very good experience with wonderful people,” said Sarah Ray, a Peyton’s Place employee. “It is touching that they take this time out of their lives for charity.”

While the United Way personnel weren’t sure what to expect with their pilot for the event, not even halfway through the evening, they had big smiles on their faces.

“I’m really pleased with the turnout,” said Lauren Siess, SCUW director. “Everyone is having a lot of fun and that’s what it’s all about.”

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