Bozeman Daily Chronicle: March 30, 2012

Gallatin Valley celebrity servers to serve up fun, food at Family Promise fundraiser

They are reluctant to call it a competition.

Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin and Bozeman Police Chief Ron Price said they will be dishing up an Italian feast at John Bozeman’s Bistro on Monday night during a “celebrity servers” fundraiser for Family Promise.

The veteran lawmen say they won’t be competing because, in the end, it doesn’t matter who raises the most in tips.

“There is definitely a friendly competition about who can wait on the most tables,” Gootkin said, sitting across a conference room table from Price on Thursday.

“But it doesn’t matter who wins because, ultimately, Family Promise does,” Price shot back.

Family Promise is a network of interfaith organizations that works to help homeless families with children.

Though neither man has professional waiting experience, Price has participated in similar events before.

Though he’s never waited tables, Gootkin held a second job as a dishwasher at Bert and Ernie’s in Great Falls to pay for books while he was stationed in the Air Force.

“My mom was a waitress though,” he quipped.

Price said his limited serving experience demonstrated to him that restaurant employees are the “hardest working people ever.”

He knew when his wife, Lisa, a Family Promise board member, told him about the event that he’d be recruited.

In past events, Price was able to “pull rank” and be bartender. Not this time, though.

“The person who really holds rank will be bartending,” he said of his wife, who will be pouring the drinks.

Seats for the event are $20 and include a four-course meal and a glass of sparkling brut.


Servers include KGLT disc jockeys Missy O’Malley and Rachel Hergett, Disney writer and Ellen Theatre operator John Ludin, astronaut and physicist Loren Acton, KTVM news anchor Patrice Parks and others.

They will entertain in exchange for tips, and all tips will be donated to Family Promise.

Bridget Pitman, marketing director for Family Promise, said it isn’t only celebrities donating their time and energy for the event. The Bistro’s owners, Carla and Ty Hill, are not charging near the cost of the meal, and their chefs and servers are also planning to help out, she said.

“They’ve been beyond wonderful,” Pitman said.

Family Promise also holds an annual cardboard city fundraiser during which people spend a night outside in makeshift shelters.

But Pitman is excited for the celebrity servers.

“The great part of this event is that it really is a community fundraiser,” she said. “Maybe it brings together people that wouldn’t necessarily sleep in a cardboard box but still want to support us and learn about what we do.”

Jodi Hausen can be reached at or 582-2630.