This story is rather weird, though such is any story involving Harvey Updyke, poisoner of the Toomer’s Corner Oaks. According to ESPN’s Mark Schlabach, Updyke will appear at a charity event in Mobile, Alabama where patrons can either throw pies at his face or put him in the dunk tank.
The gathering is being organized by the charity Roses From Linda, an NPO whose mission is to, “cover airline, bus, or train tickets costs for families to travel to visit their sick or dying loved ones. Money shouldn’t be the reason families cannot give each other that one last hug and kiss and say their final good-byes.” Proceeds for this event will go to the family of John Oliver, a boy who passed away from neuroblastoma in July.
As for the inclusion of Updyke, organizer T.J. Hodges claims the idea sprung from a brainstorm session on “out of the box” ways to bring awareness to the event.
“The Harvey Updyke idea came from me thinking outside the box to raise money for the family,” Hodges said. “I thought I’d take a chance and see if Harvey was interested in helping, and he said he’d do whatever we wanted.”
Per the terms of his sentencing, Updyke is not allowed to speak with the media. However, speaking on his behalf, Updyke’s wife claims it was the disgraced former state trooper’s daughter who convinced him to partake.
“He thought about it and thought about it,” Updyke’s wife, Elva, said. “His daughter said he needed to do it because it will show that he’s not as big of a nut as some people believe. He told them they can do whatever they want to him if it will raise money for kids.”
As for the safety of her husband, Elva Updyke does not appear concerned.
“He knows there’s going to be a lot of Auburn fans there, but he doesn’t care,” Elva Updyke said. “He’s 65 years old. What are they going to do to him? They’ll have security there.”
Editorializing here: it’s easy to see the pros and cons of this brainstorm. On one hand, Updyke is Public Enemy No. 1 for the Auburn fan base. He destroyed generations of memories and killed off part of a beloved tradition. There would likely be an infinite amount of fans and alumni waiting to take a shot at him – meaning the charity and Oliver family collect more money.
On the other end of the spectrum, if the charity is about a child and remembering life and helping the family, this sure adds a negative element to the event. It’s hard to envision people politely lining up to toss a pie or dunk Updyke like a carnival clown. This more seems like a medieval event, where a man is shackled to the stocks and presented for a public shaming.
Thankfully, Updyke is not the only attraction at the event. Katherine Webb, Kevin Norwood and other famous figures around the state have put up goods for auction. Below are some of the other fundraising items, courtesy of the Roses From Linda Facebook page.
Here are the other auction packages available for the “For Ollie” event:
Kevin Norwood will make you a personalized video. How about getting a “Roll Tide” from Mr. Clutch himself!
Homecoming Date with Eryk Anders and Priscilla Wadsworth! 2 winners of this auction will get to go to the Alabama Homecoming game with National Champion, Eryk Anders and Alabama artist, Priscilla Wadsworth.
Katherine Webb will also be doing a personalized video for 1 lucky auction winner! Very cool prize!!
– Working on more. Remember, this is “For Ollie”
The charity event for Ollie will take place September 27.