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Athens ‘celebrities’ to work for tips to support Relay for Life

ATHENS — The Athens community’s commitment to fighting cancer and supporting survivors leads a mayor, a football coach, a firefighter, a police officer and others to change jobs for a night.

Athens High football coach Cody Gross waits on customers. (Contributed photo)

Local celebrities will wait tables today from 5 to 8 p.m. at Applebee’s in Athens for the annual City of Athens Relay for Life Celebrity Waiters Night. They will work for tips for the Athens Relay Team. Proceeds will go to the American Cancer Society.

This year’s Celebrity Waiters are:

  • Athens Mayor Ronnie Marks
  • Athens Firefighter Jordan Pugh
  • Athens Police Officer Michael Stainbrook
  • Athens High Football Coach Cody Gross
  • Athens High Band Director Ty Parker
  • Athens-Limestone County Chamber of Commerce President Pammie Jimmar
  • Athens Community Advocate Laverne Gilbert
  • PPG Aerospace Employee and Ardmore native Sherie Prier

For Jimmar, a cancer survivor, this will be her first time as a Celebrity Waiter.

This is Prier’s second year, and she competes in memory of her mother, former Celebrity Waiter Kathy Cothren, who battled breast and colon cancer and passed away in 2022.

“It’s a fun night because the waiters get competitive to see who can earn the most in tips, and they always want to beat the mayor, which I’m good with because that means we’re raising money for a good cause,” Marks said.

Gilbert, Prier and Marks finished in the Top 3 at last year’s event. The 2023 event raised over $5,000.

The event is sponsored in part by Applebee’s and Morell Engineering. 

“The Applebee’s staff assists our Celebrity Waiters, and they are eager to see how much is earned at night’s end,” Athens Relay Captain Holly Hollman said. “Morell Engineering joined us this year with a sponsorship, so we’re already off to a good start with fundraising.”

Hollman said Cothren and late Councilmen Jimmy Gill and Frank Travis were all former Celebrity Waiters who enjoyed this fundraiser, and they all lost their battles with cancer.

“The memories of how much this meant to them remind us why we can’t give up, and why this night is special not only for the money raised, but for the support we show each other,” Hollman said.

Last year, the Celebrity Waiters met a 12-year cancer survivor from Minnesota who stopped at Applebee’s on her trip home. She and her husband left a generous tip and remarked how wonderful it was to see so many from the community working together to support survivors and fight cancer.

Those who cannot attend but want to support a specific Celebrity Waiter can call 256-233-8730 regarding a donation.

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