March 24, 2013 Leave a comment
February 25, 2013 1 Comment
The 5th Annual Dancing with Our Stars for the American Red Cross of Northeast Wisconsin exceeded expectations, with record fundraising and increased awareness to programs and services. Together, with the amazing efforts of our nine celebrity dancers, our sponsors, and with the support of the community, we raised $370,000 in net revenue to support Red Cross programs and services in our community. This year’s event was held on Saturday, February 23 at the Radisson Hotel and Conference Center in Green Bay.“Here at the American Red Cross, we are truly humbled by the outpouring of community support received through the “Dancing with Our Stars” event,” said Steve Hansen, Regional COO and Chapter Executive. “Saturday night, the entire event concluded with the entertainment and demonstration of dancing skills by our nine stars, but the real event started more than four months ago, when our dancers made the commitment to raise funds to support the lifesaving mission of the American Red Cross.”
Hansen also said, “Along with the outstanding support from our sponsors and community, the dancers poured everything they had into this event by generously volunteering their time and talent to make this event a huge success. On behalf of the American Red Cross, thank you for bringing compassion and hope to those in need!”
Thank you to our sponsors including: Oneida Nation of Wisconsin; Kimberly-Clark; Festival Foods; Schneider National Foundation; Jack’s Maintenance; Broadway Automotive; The Green Bay Packers; MillerCoors and Masters Gallery Foods. We also thank our media partners of WBAY-TV2, WIXX and the Green Bay Press-Gazette for their promotional support.
Our dancers definitely put their best foot forward to entertain and dazzle a sold-out crowd of 770 guests. The evening began with dinner and followed with our all-star dance program where each celebrity performed two dances. The night concluded with the awards ceremony.
Taking away the top honors for the Mirror Ball Fundraising Trophy was Betina Driver. The wife of former Green Bay Packers wide receiver Donald Driver raised $155,000 to support the local Red Cross.
To view additional photos from the event visit our Northeast Wisconsin Facebook page.
The People’s Choice award for showcase one went to Pat Warpinski and Taryn Oleson for their Quickstep to “Rolling in the Deep.” People’s Choice award for showcase two went to Mary Gronnert and Michael Witte for their Jive to “Girls Gone Wild.”The Judges’ Choice award went to Betina and Donald Driver for their two performances: A Tango to ‘Too Close” and a Rumba to “Endless Love.”
Special thanks to Cami Rapson and Chris Roth of WBAY-TV 2 for serving as masters of ceremonies and to Jesse Baumgart, Kimberly Larsen and Christopher Mangless for their professional and colorful judging commentary.
Thank you to all our star dancers for their time, commitment, energy and passion: Todd Bierowski, President/Owner, Décor Lighting Sales, Asst. Football Coach, St. Norbert College; Rick Bondowski, Senior Vice President, Regional Retail Director, Associated Bank; Betina Driver, Co-host, “The Better Half”; Mary Gronnert, Foundation Coordinator, Schneider National Foundation, Inc.; Emily Matesic, Reporter, WBAY-TV 2; Sean Sanders, Grocery/Frozen/Dairy Director, Festival Foods; Amy Sehring, Community Supporter; Erica VanBoxel, Green Bay Press-Gazette Magazine Editor; Pat Warpinski, Owner/Veterinarian of The Animal House; and Rane Cegelski and Taryn Oleson from DanceSport of Green Bay; Jamie Keyzer, Jay Morth, Taylor Watry, Michael Witte and Alyssa Zellner from Simply Ballroom of Green Bay; and Terry Irwin from TC Dance Club International of Appleton.
Thank you to our committee, volunteers and most of all the community for supporting your local American Red Cross of Northeast WI.
February 23, 2013 Leave a comment
February 23, 2013 Leave a comment
February 6, 2013 Leave a comment
Written by Maria Amante Press-Gazette Media
Even though Green Bay Packers receiver Donald Driver is officially announcing his retirement today, it’s not the last Green Bay will see of him, his wife, or his dancing.Driver’s wife, Betina, is one of the local celebrities competing in this year’s Dancing With Our Stars, an event that supports the American Red Cross.
Donald Driver took home the mirror ball trophy last year on the 14th season of ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars.” Those dance moves will again be on display as Donald will be Betina’s dance partner at the event.
“The addition of them has added a new element, a new public interest,” said Shawn Kiser, special events coordinator for the American Red Cross of Northeast Wisconsin. “Unless you get to know the people dancing, public interest might not be that high.”
Kiser acknowledged the Drivers’ star power, but said their celebrity doesn’t necessarily mean Betina has the mirror ball trophy in the bag.
“Without a doubt, there’s an actual contest for fundraising,” he said. “The Drivers bring star power, they can leverage their star power, but that doesn’t mean you can discount the other contestants. I wouldn’t call this a runaway by any stretch of the imagination.”
He said Sean Sanders, who works for Festival Foods, had fundraising efforts in stores, selling cookies and other items to support his effort, and Rick Bondowski, who works at Associated Bank, has many employees pulling for him.
The experience has been a challenge on many levels, said Mary Gronnert-Kollross, one of the dancers and foundation coordinator for Schneider National Foundation Inc.
Gronnert-Kollross said she’s learned patience, concentration and focus — all while learning how to dance.
“It’s been a great experience, anyone who has the opportunity should just do it,” she said. “You never know if you’re gonna need the Red Cross. It’s important to give back.”
Each dancer has worked since October on two dances to be performed Feb. 23 at the event. Each person will practice at least 30 hours before performing, in addition to fundraising.
Gronnert-Kollross will dance with Michael Witte, a ballroom dance instructor, and owner of Simply Ballroom, 1296 Velp Ave., a Green Bay dance studio. Witte has worked with the event for several years and choreographed many of the performances
“It’s really rewarding,” Witte said. “I love being a part of that night.”
The person who raises the most money between now and the end of the event will be awarded the mirror ball trophy. 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.
Prizes are also awarded for dancing: a people’s choice for each dance and an overall judge’s choice award.
Even if they’re not attending the event, people are able to “vote” for their favorite dancer by making a donation. Donations can be made on the Red Cross website via credit card or by sending a check to the group’s office at 2131 Deckner Ave., Green Bay, and indicating which dancer the funds are to support.
January 22, 2013 Leave a comment
December 5, 2012 1 Comment
I’m Rick Bondowski, Regional Retail Director at Associated Bank, I have been with Associated Bank for nearly 6 years. I serve on the board of Directors for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Wisconsin and the Menominee Tribal College.
I am also a dad, husband, son, brother, uncle. I am on a mission to not embarrass myself and the aforementioned parties with my participation in Dancing with The Stars competition. My wife Claudine and I are blessed to have a wonderful son Jack, who was really excited for this competition; more so to see Donald and Betina Driver dance, rather than his Dad. I enjoy hunting, golfing, coaching Jack’s sports teams, as well as cheer on the Packers, Brewers, Bucks and my alma mater Marquette University.
My early memories of dancing come from family weddings. When I was teenager, I believed I could really cut a rug. I realize now that the sprinkler, lawn mower and driving the bus moves I had then will probably not cut it in this competition. I also spent a little time in show choir in junior high and still take a lot of grief for the spirit finger moves I was required to do.
My personal favorite Dancing With The Stars Celebrity is Katherine Jenkins from the season Donald Driver won. How could you not love someone who could say “Naughty Bits” on National TV? She was also elegant, classy and quite a good dancer.
I am proud to support a great organization like the American Red Cross and all the humanitarian efforts they lead. The risk of embarrassing myself is a small price to pay to help raise money to support those in need, when they need it most. With that, I am somewhat of a quiet guy. This experience is one of those ‘break out of the shell events’ that everyone should try. Pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone can be a good thing from time to time, and I am surely doing that here! When given the chance to sit it out or dance – I hope we all choose to dance.