We can dance, we can dance, everybody’s takin’ the chance! -
“Men Without Hats”, 1983
My very first dance memory brings me back to Eddie Whipp’s Dining Hall, town of Poland, to the evening of one of many raucous Polish weddings. My mother, aunts and cousins coaxed me onto the dance floor, and it was there at the age of 8, that I was introduced to the Waltz and Polka. It was a tilt-a-whirl of fun being tossed and twirled about by these intrepid women.
Truth be told, my dance lessons did not go much further than that, because in an effort to be cool, I soon learned to make myself scarce after the chicken dinner and hang with the other guys who stood around and looked at the floor. After a long dance hiatus, I did take a Modern/Jazz class while studying at UW-Madison, where I worked night and day to pull out a B-.
Since a dance career did not seem like a strong possibility, I decided to give veterinary medicine a turn. In 1991, I earned my DVM. That time period was a highlight, because a year earlier I also married the love of my life, Collette LaRue. 22 years later we have four children: Shawnda (19), Ross (17), Chloe (17) and Sam (13), who allow me to live vicariously through their own musical, dance and athletic pursuits.
Upon graduation of veterinary school, I honed my veterinary craft in several small farming towns before planting permanent roots back in Green Bay in 1996. In 2004, I launched The Animal House, a start-up business endeavor, which has been both incredibly challenging and satisfying. I can honestly say that I genuinely love working with people and their pets. The work engages, energizes and is different every day. There is absolutely no other job that I would rather do in this world, even dance the Cha-Cha!
After the workday is done, I find specks of time for other interests. As an avid collector of vinyl, I am an aspiring audiophile. Relaxing at home with my family and spinning some vintage blues is my ideal way to unwind from the everyday hustle.
Thank you to The American Red Cross for this unforgettable opportunity. Following in my older brother Bob’s footsteps as a 2012 DWTS contestant, and Winner of the Special Contribution Award, I have big shoes to fill and a brotherly competitive desire to somehow “do one better”. Admittedly, it is going to be tough! All efforts of course, are in great fun and for wonderful cause. I am truly honored and humbled to be a part of this amazing event.
Good luck to all the contestants and let the dancing begin!