Scam Alert!

Published 4:32 pm Sunday, March 15, 2015

GATESVILLE – A local effort to assist a veteran Gates County law enforcement officer overcome a critical medical condition has unfortunately attracted scam artists.

In Thursday’s edition, the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald shared the story of Al Parker, a Gates County Deputy Sheriff hospitalized last week after suffering a major heart attack and whose medical prognosis includes having a heart transplant.

His colleagues in law enforcement as well as friends within the Eure Volunteer Fire Department and Hall Ruritan Club have launched fund raising efforts to help Parker. However, there are others looking to seize the opportunity to make a quick buck for themselves.

“We have been notified that some of our local citizens have been contacted by individuals claiming to be associated with this effort to help Deputy Parker and they are not who they say they are,” said Gates County Sheriff Ed Webb on Friday morning.

Webb said phone calls are being made to local residents from an individual claiming to either be associated with the Gates County Sheriff’s Office or the North Carolina Sheriff’s Association.

“Those calls are not legit,” Webb warned. “Yes, there is indeed a legitimate organization known as the North Carolina Sheriff’s Association, but I spoke with them at their office in Raleigh and they are not, I repeat, not making phone calls on Deputy Parker’s behalf in an effort to raise funds to help offset his medical expenses.

“And I can ensure that we, members of the Gates County Sheriff’s Office, are not making phone calls to solicit funds,” Webb added. “That goes as well for the Eure firemen and the Hall Ruritans. Yes, we are soliciting funds, but we’re doing it face-to-face.”

Webb did confirm that solicitation for funds was made to the media, but only asking them to publish information regarding that those donations can be made at any office of the State Employees Credit Union (SECU). Currently there is an account set up at the SECU office in Gatesville to accept donations on Parker’s behalf. Webb said those interested in making a donation can do so at any SECU branch statewide….ask for the George “Al” Parker Special Account.

“Or you can call us and we’ll gladly come pick up your donation and carry it to the Credit Union; or you can choose to mail your donation to the SECU at PO Box 4 here in Gatesville (27938),” Webb said.

Webb stated there’s another claim that the entire Parker story is a hoax fabricated by local law enforcement in order to pocket money.

“That’s ludicrous,” Webb said. “We wish that everything was okay with Al and he was right here with us today. But he’s not….he’s in the hospital and he needs whatever help we all can give him. It’s a real shame that someone is trying to take advantage of a bad situation.”

Webb said several individuals and businesses are in the process of donating items to be used in separate raffles. There is also a plan in the works to conduct a fundraising meal on May 8 (11-2 for lunch and 4-7 for supper) at the Gatesville SECU. That take-out meal will be prepared by Nixon’s Catering. Tickets are now on sale at the SECU, the Sheriff’s Office, Eure Volunteer Fire Department and Hall Ruritan Club.

Meanwhile, Parker’s medical condition has improved to the point where he may be able to spend this weekend at his Eure home before returning to the hospital (Sentara Norfolk General) on Monday.

According to a Friday morning update on Facebook (posted by his wife, Glynda), Parker may possibly be fitted with a defibrillator vest and allowed to come home on medication.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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