Local group bringing in “CHiPS” stars for fundraiser


Editor’s note: The Daily Reporter will feature our “Neighbors” each month, whether it be someone with an interesting hobby or profession, or a nonprofit group making a difference in our community. Here, Blue Angel Connect board members Brent Burris, Laura Basham and Kim Burris share about an upcoming fundraiser called Dinner with CHiPS. Blue Angel Connect was started in 2016 best known for its Holiday Hope Christmas program, which provides Christmas gifts to local families. Deadline to buy tickets for the fundraiser featuring the stars of the TV show “CHiPS” is Sept. 30. If you know a person or a group that you’d like to see featured in Neighbors, email [email protected].

Daily Reporter: How did you come up with the idea of bringing the stars of “CHiPS” to Hancock County?

Brent Burris: Growing up in the ’70s and early ’80s I watched a TV police program called “CHiPs.” In fact, watching this show influenced me to become a police officer. The stars of the show, Larry Wilcox and Erik Estrada, do many events during the year that draw in many fans. We thought by having a fundraiser featuring these two actors may bring in extra donations this year to help support our cause. I reached out to their manager who reached out to Erik and Larry, and they were more than happy to come to Indianapolis for our event to help raise money for our Holiday Hope Christmas program.

DR: Tell us how the two events work.

BB: There will be an autograph event happening on Friday night, Oct. 20 from 5-10 p.m. at the Sheraton Hotel located at Keystone Crossing in Indianapolis. There will also be a professional photographer on site to take your picture, print it on site, and then you can have it signed by Erik, Larry or both. We will also have a CHiPs motorcycle there as well for additional photo opportunities. Tickets are available on the website and can be purchased through this Saturday, Sept. 30. Admission to this event is $20. Autograph and signature request prices will vary. You can also bring in your memorabilia to have signed.

On Saturday night, there will be a dinner at Bradley Hall in Greenfield. General admission tickets for this event will be $275 and can also be purchased on our website through Sept. 30. The evening will consist of a cocktail hour, dinner, followed by a question-and-answer session, and a silent auction featuring a few signed items from the CHiPs show. Live music will also be performed by “3 of Heart,” which is part of the local band, Wildheart. Tasty dessert treats will also be provided after dinner by Nannies Baking Creations.

DR: What will the fundraiser money go toward?

Laura Basham: All proceeds from the CHiPS event will be put towards our annual Holiday Hope program. This program provides holiday assistance to families in Hancock and Henry counties that may have otherwise had to go without. Every family member, including the adults, is provided gifts, a chance to meet Mr. and Mrs. Claus, a free meal the day of the event, as well as a meal to take home and make on Christmas. Given the status of the economy, we anticipate there will be a larger number of families needing assistance this year. Since this program relies solely on donations, we are only able to help to the extent that we receive funding. We are hoping that the CHiPS event will help us meet the anticipated increased need and allow us to support as many families as possible.

DR: What can people expect at this event?

Kim Burris: This event is to showcase Blue Angel Connect and the commitment and dedication it has in supporting our local communities in Hancock and Henry County. Everyone is feeling the extra pressures of the higher costs of goods and services, this is also true for non-profits such as ours. We recognize that people can invest their money in any charity and wanted to provide a different way for people to help support a local charity. Being able to partner with Larry Wilcox and Erik Estrada from CHiPs has allowed us to provide a fun weekend, yet still collect donations for our charity event Holiday Hope. We hope people will be able to have a memorable experience that might come only once in a lifetime for them.

More information and tickets are at blueangelconnect.org.