09/21/05 — Singing challenge raises $1,630 for hurricane victims

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Singing challenge raises $1,630 for hurricane victims

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on September 21, 2005 1:50 PM

Two Wayne County departments recently challenged staff members to raise money for relief efforts for victims of Hurricane Katrina. Team leaders would be Health Director James Roosen and Social Services Director Judy Pelt.

The prize? The leader of the winning team would get serenaded by the losing team's leader.

When the competition wrapped up Monday, DSS had collected $830, while the Health Department staff donations totaled $800. That meant that Roosen had to sing.

Because of limited space, two performances were held. Roosen chose to delight the audiences with "Help" by the Beatles.

As he took to the microphone for his first set at 4 p.m, the capacity crowd applauded.

"You guys won't be clapping long," he said.

"For the next 20 minutes, we're going back to the '60s," Roosen said. "First, we've gotta get in the mood." Retrieving a tote bag, he exited through a back door. When he returned moments later, he was wearing a multi-colored hat, hair extensions, and "shades."

He then thanked the combined staffs for their generosity and successful efforts raising money to help others.

"There's no winners, there's no losers," he said. "I feel like a winner...even though I'm making an absolute idiot of myself."

When he launched into "Help," it sounded strangely high-pitched. Laughter rippled through the crowd as listeners suddenly became aware that a ringer was hidden behind a partition. Debbie Johnson, a maternity physician extender, was lip-synching for Roosen.