I recently participated in the 5th Annual Dancing with Our Stars for the American Red Cross of Northeast Wisconsin. This year’s event was held on Saturday, February 23 at the Radisson Hotel and Conference Center in Green Bay. I, along with my team from Festival Foods, was able to raise over an astounding $70,000 to support Red Cross programs and services for our local communities. This amount was the 2nd highest total dollar amount ever raised in the competition by a single participant.
The journey began in October when I was announced as one of the “celebrity dancers” at a kick-off party in the Lambeau Field atrium. Nine community members were paired with a local “professional dancers” and over the next 4 months donated our time and effort to learn two ballroom dances which we performed at the event. The “celebrity dancers” also competed against each other to see who could raise the most funds to support the local Red Cross. All funds raised support disaster prevention, preparation and relief, the life-saving training of first aid, CPR/AED classes, collection and testing of blood and blood products, support to military members serving around the globe, the transportation program and international programs.
My dance partner, Jamie Keyzer, and I, along with the other dancers definitely put our best foot forward as we entertained and dazzled a sold-out crowd of 770 guests. The evening began with dinner and followed with the celebrities showing off our two dances. Taking away the top honors for the Mirror Ball Fundraising Trophy was Betina Driver, wife of former Green Bay Packers wide receiver Donald Driver, who raised $155,000. I took home 2nd place for Festival Foods with over $70,000 raised. Together, with the amazing efforts of the other celebrity dancers, sponsors, and with the support of the community, we raised a record $370,000 in net revenue to support Red Cross programs and services in our community.
Simply put this was one of the most rewarding, lifelong memories I will ever have. I need to thank my wife, Sue, for holding down the fort while I practiced for 4-6 hours per week for four months. I could not have done it without her support and encouragement. Thank you also for the team at Festival as well as our guests who purchased fundraising cookies. I am honored to be part of such a great community and great event.