By: Benjamin J. Gohs, News Editor
They just want their birds back. Nearly an entire flock of plastic flamingos used for fundraising purposes went missing last week and the owners are hoping for their safe return.
“We do not care who took our flamingos or why, we just want them back,” said Julie Bailey of Great Lakes Energy. “Getting donations and raising money is not always easy, so having to buy a whole new flock is disheartening.”
She added, “Please, if you see anything or know anything, let us know or return them safely to us. Our email address is firstname.lastname@example.org or we have a Facebook page ACS Relay for Life-Team GLE.”
The flamingos went missing between 9:30 p.m. on May 29 and 6 a.m. on May 30. “Our flock was roosting in a team member’s yard, she lives on M-75 between Boyne City and Boyne Falls,” Bailey said. According to Bailey, 19 of the 20 the flamingos taken, valued at nearly $112, were purchased by the Relay for Life Team Great Lakes Energy this year in order to help raise money for their favorite charity.
“We had the flamingos in a team member’s yard as an advertisement for the Flamingo Flocking, to get the word out in our area, and overnight the flamingos disappeared,” Bailey said. “The fundraiser was going to start June 1. We are still going through with the fundraiser, but now we have had to use additional funds we have already raised to purchase new flamingos and our start date will be pushed back until the new shipment of flamingos arrive.”
The Relay for Life-Team Great Lakes Energy formed in 2009 to support the American Cancer Society Relay for Life.
“We have a core team of 12 employees that brainstorm fundraising ideas and participate in the Charlevoix County Relay for Life event each August,” Bailey said. “Additional employees also participate in the 24 hour Relay for Life walk, and in the past, the majority of our fundraising has taken place internally. Since 2009 we have raised over $11,000 in support of The American Cancer Society.” She added, “The Flamingo Flocking fundraiser is going to be our first real foray into seeking donations from the public.”
Bailey said the Flamingo Flocking is pretty simple, and fun. “You donate to our Relay for Life team and sometime overnight our flock roost in your unsuspecting ‘victim’s’ yard so they have a funny surprise to wake up to see in their yard. There is then a removal fee (a donation), and if they want the flock to roost in another ‘victim’s’ yard, they can donate an additional $5,” she said. “If you see your neighbor has been Flocked and you think you might be next and
do not want them in your yard, you can purchase Anti-Flocking insurance for $20. Of course this is all done in a fun spirit to raise money for a good cause.”
The Relay for Life is a fundraising event for the American Cancer Society. “As a Co-Op, Great Lakes Energy prides itself in giving back to the communities it serves, and this is just one way they do that,” Bailey said. “Our core team members have joined and worked so hard to raise money for varying reasons.” Bailey’s reason for joining the cause is a more personal one.
“I lost my Mom to cancer when I was 19,” she said. “I have also lost my Grandmother and an Aunt.” Bailey added, “I want to do as much as I can to stop this awful disease that took my Mom from me too early, especially now that I have
a young daughter.” If found, the flamingos can be brought to the Charlevoix County Sheriff in Boyne Falls, returned to the home from where they were taken, or brought to the Great Lakes Energy Office located at 1323 Boyne Ave. in Boyne City. “No questions asked,” Bailey said. “We just want our flock back.”