Dancing with Our Stars 2017 Fundraiser Raises Awareness for Local Services and $206,000+!

The 9th Annual Dancing with Our Stars for the American Red Cross held on Saturday, February 25 at the KI Convention Center in Green Bay featured fantastic fundraising as well as spectacular dancing. Together, with the amazing efforts of our star and professional dancers, sponsors, and with the support of the community, we raised more than $206,000 to support Red Cross programs and services in our community.

Taking away the top honor for the Mirror Ball Fundraising Trophy – Team Division was Stacy Stecker and Chelsea Anderson of Team Rock for the Red. They raised more than $66,000 to support the local Red Cross. The winner of the Mirror Ball Fundraising Trophy – Individual Division was Jim Knopf who raised more than $25,000.

People’s Choice Champion Award went to Billi Jo Baneck and Michael Witte for their dance to “I Won’t Let Go.”  The People’s Choice Runner Up Award went to Ryan Martin and Mina Witte for their Paso Doble to “Kiss the Sky.”

The Judges’ Choice Champion Award went to Kelly Wolff and Terry Irwin for their Rhythm Medley to “One Night Only.” The Judges’ Choice Runner Up Award went to Sarah Larson and Rane Cegelski for their Harry Potter-themed Smooth Medley.

Sarah Larson and Rane Cegelski for their Harry Potter-themed Smooth Medley.

Sarah Larson and Rane Cegelski for their Harry Potter-themed Smooth Medley.

Thank you to our sponsors including: Associated Bank; AT&T; BayTek Games; Broadway Automotive; Festival Foods; Green Bay Packaging; Green Bay Packers; Kimberly-Clark; Nature’s Way; Sanimax; Schneider Foundation, Simply Ballroom, SKB Management, Tundraland and Wisconsin Public Service. We also thank our media partners of WBAY-TV2, 101 WIXX and 94.3 JackFM for their promotional support.

Special thanks to Cami Rapson of WBAY-TV 2 and Shawn Kiser of Rally Man Entertainment for serving as masters of ceremonies and Christopher Mangless, Matthew Rassmussen and Heather Wudstrack for their professional and colorful commentary as judges.

Thank you to all our star dancers for their time, commitment, energy and passion:

  • Team Champagne Strut:
    • Jennie Sykes – Brand Ambassador, Elevate97
    • Jillian Dempsey – Co-owner, The Heel
  • Team Culinary Chemist:
    • Jyll Everman – Co-Owner/Executive Chef, Gather on Broadway
    • Sarah Larson – Quality Control Chemist, Nature’s Way
  • Team E-Rock:
    • Emily Matesic – Fox Valley Bureau Chief, WBAY-TV
    • Adam Rockman – BSN/RN/CCRN, Bellin Health
  • Team Rock for the Red:
    • Chelsea Anderson – UW School of Medicine and Public Health
    • Stacy Stecker – Senior Vice President/Private Banking Group Manager, Associated Bank
  • Team Vixens:
    • Kelly Wolff – Kimberly-Clark
    • Lusine Weitz – Owner, NC Janitorial

The community members competing individually:

  • Billi Jo Baneck – Dispatcher, Brown County Public Safety
  • Jim Knopf – Sales & Marketing Manager, Servpro
  • Dr. Ryan Martin – Professor of Psychology at UW-Green Bay
  • Tara Steinhorst – Founder, Colton’s Cure
  • Carla Vander Loop – Stylist/Social Media Marketing, LS Boutique
  • Woody from 94.3 JackFM – Program Coordinator/On-Air Talent

 Also, thank you to our pro dance partners:

Rane Cegelski; Terry Irwin from TC Dance Club of Appleton; Charles Michaels from Arthur Murray School of Dance in Sun Prairie; Jay Morth from Ballroom by Jay; Michael Witte and Mina Witte from Simply Ballroom of Green Bay.

To view videos of the dances click HERE.

Check out our Northeast Wisconsin Facebook Page to view event photos.

Thank you to the event committee, volunteers and most of all the community for supporting your local Red Cross.

 

DWOS17 Meet our Star Dancers: Jennie Sykes & Jillian Dempsey – Team Champagne Strut

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Team Champagne Strut – Jennie Sykes

My current occupation is that of Brand Ambassador for Elevate97. While this role has traditionally been focused on client services, it has recently evolved into a sales and marketing position. I was born in and enjoyed a terrific childhood in Neenah. My family then moved to Utah where I spent a lot of time getting really good at being very bad at skiing and mountain climbing and hiking. In general, I’m not very athletic. My only two competitive sports are sledding and whack-a-mole and that one time I took up gymnasium floor hockey.

My son Alrick and I live on the East side of Green Bay in the Astor Park Neighborhood. He is my best friend and favorite side kick and I couldn’t imagine life without him. Being the mother of a pre-teen boy has proven far more interesting than anything I’ve ever done and we’re just getting started.

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Jennie and her dance partner Michael Witte, of Simply Ballroom,  on their first day of practice.

My first dancing recollection was as a four-year-old, playing my record of “Mary Martin’s Peter Pan” at my church basement daycare for the other kids during show and tell. I demanded they all get up and join in the choreography I had crafted from watching a lot of Solid Gold, Fame and Mitzi Gaynor specials. Had sequins not been considered a choking hazard, there would have been costuming involved.

My dream dance partner has been and always will be Liza Minelli. Preferably as she sings something. And if this dream scenario could take place on a stage in late 70’s New York City that would be tremendous.

Who is my favorite dancer of all time on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” and why?  Rumer Willis for the win on this one…tremendous passion, expression and talent. Performance of any kind done well, creates an emotional connection and resonates with everyone around you. Rumer is a wonderful example of this.

Why am I supporting the American Red Cross through DWOS? Discrimination should never be a barrier to being the answer to those in need. Relieving human suffering is a powerful connector and a true catalyst towards creating a greater peace. These are ideas at the core of our mission and they are ideas that I hold as personal values.

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70’s classic rock & KISS themed Halloween Costume Party at Titletown Brewing Co, Tap Room, hosted on October 29 to support the Red Cross. Team Champagne Strut with our amazing Red Cross Volunteers    (l-r) Ann VandeHei, Barb Vanden Langenberg, Jillian Dempsey, Jennie Sykes and Sharon Bryfcznski.

Team Champagne Strut – Jillian Dempsey

I was born in Shreveport, Louisiana. My father’s job took us all over the place, but we finally settled in Iron Mountain, Michigan. The majority of my childhood took place there. But I feel I’m equal parts southern girl and yooper. As a result, I make a mean gumbo and a killer pasty!

Dancing was always a part of my life. Ballet, tap, jazz, gymnastics, competitive cheer (Go Mountaineers!), figure skating, musical theatre, choir… if it involved dancing, I was there.

After high school, I studied communications at Ferris State University. Then I moved around a LOT! (Standing still has never been my strong suit.) Eventually, life led me back to a wonderful man from my hometown. Troy Dempsey and I married in 2008. We moved to Green Bay in 2009, in order to take over The Heel shoe store. Troy is a pedorthist. So this was a perfect fit.

13450204_10153551235266691_2533558317457883653_nThe Heel has existed downtown since the 1970’s. When we took over, Troy was pretty much the only in-store employee. We have grown substantially since then. Troy’s goal has always been providing healthy, quality footwear and educating customers on proper foot health. You would be surprised how much a shoe can help or hurt you!

Somewhere in there we had two fantastic kids. Amelia is 7 and Grey is 4. Amelia is shy, sweet, quiet, gentle, incredibly tall and fantastically nerdy! If you know my husband and I, you are as baffled as we are that we created a shy, quiet human! Grey was a preemie, born at 29 weeks. So his journey has been a crazy one! As a result, he is quite a character! Stubborn, hilarious, loud and dramatic! His only complication is a mild cerebral palsy. Basically it only affects his ability to use his right leg properly. He receives botox and physical therapy and as a result, he is one tough cookie! My kids are by far the biggest part of my life and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

We currently live in the Astor Park area of Green Bay. We absolutely LOVE the community here. I have come to know so many incredible, inspiring people! One of those people being my teammate, neighbor and friend, Jennie Sykes! We have many similarities, but she is far and away the more impressive one! She shines light and love everywhere she goes! She is one of the most creative people I know and a huge inspiration to me. I am SO fortunate to take this journey with her! Not to mention the fact that I never would have taken the steps had she not taken me as her plus one to the event this year!

Who is my dream dance partner? I fell in love with Mikhail Baryshnikov when I saw him dance the Nutcracker. Most people watch it at Christmas time. But from the age of 6, I had that VHS tape in our VCR year-round! I have dreamed of dancing the Nutcracker with him ever since!

As for my favorite dancer on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars”, it’s a tie between Rumer Willis and Meryl Davis. Rumer’s journey was so inspiring to young women everywhere. She was raw, brave and enormously talented. And let’s face it, she and Val were HOT! Everyone who has ever put on a pair of figure skates dreams of being able to move like Meryl Davis. Her skill was breathtaking! I love that she brought a whole new audience to ice dancing!

The American Red Cross is profoundly vital. Among so many ways they help around the world, they are always the first to respond in any disaster. Regardless of race, gender, socioeconomic status, religion… If there is a need, the Red Cross is there. I’ve seen it first-hand. So really, how could anyone refuse the chance to lend their support?

DWOS17 Meet our Star Dancers: Lusine Weitz and Kelly Wolff – Team Vixen!

Lusine Weitz

img_0494I was born in Gyumri, Armenia.  I lived in my hometown until the Spitak earthquake devastated my town and region in 1988.  50,000 Armenians lost their lives and 130,000 suffered injuries in this tragedy.  In the aftermath, my family moved to Yoshkar-Ola, Russia where I obtained a degree in music.  Additionally, I graduated from the Moscow Open Social University where I earned a degree in law.  In 2006, I met my husband in Russia and move to the United States.  In 2009, I established a commercial cleaning company in Appleton called NC Janitorial, Inc.

Since coming to America, I’ve sought to cultivate my lifelong love of dance.  I am extremely blessed to be a student of the talented Mr. Terry Irwin, owner of TC Dance Club.  I am very excited to participate in Dancing with Our Stars.

Over the years, I’ve waited for an opportunity to give back to the American Red Cross.  I’m committed to the Red Cross and its important mission. I’ve seen firsthand the critical difference this organization makes in literally saving people’s lives around the world.  In my hometown of Gyumri, thousands of people would have perished if not for the quick response to this earthquake.  Within days of this tragedy, advance teams of rescue personnel were on site, and within a week hundreds of Red Cross volunteers were also there. If you want to see a thankful community, come visit Gyumri.  You will never find a town that is so appreciative of the work of the Red Cross.

 

Kelly Wolff

img_3960I am very excited to be participating in Dancing with Our Stars for the American Red Cross. Not only do I love to dance, I am honored to help raise money and bring awareness to the Red Cross and the work it does. But this event and what we are doing isn’t really about me, it’s about all of us. Volunteering and supporting volunteer organizations is a part of how we show our compassion for each other and how we reinforce our sense of community. When we do it we truly get more out of it then we give. With this in mind, I’d like to thank you for supporting this event and helping those in need.

My mother, Debbie Wolff, used to go out dancing while she was pregnant with me. And she passed this along to me. So I guess you could say I’ve been dancing since before I was born! From there I have fun memories of dancing with my girlfriends in my parents’ basement, performing on the Cedarburg High School and St. Norbert College dance teams, coaching the Cedarburg Colts Cheer & Dance Team for a decade, and of learning and loving ballroom dancing from Terry and Toby at TC Dance Club in Appleton. While there, I am able to dance with my dream dance partner, my husband, Arnie Enz. I don’t think anything can top our wedding dance.

During the day, I work as a formulation scientist at Kimberly-Clark designing lotions and potions for their personal care product lines. I have been working toward a Masters in Cosmetic Chemistry from the University of Cincinnati, though I took the last semester off to get married. Kimberly-Clark is very supportive of my volunteer activities and has given me many wonderful opportunities to organize STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) activities for kids on campus and in the local schools. Since I love to dance, I also work as an instructor at Aerial Dance Pole Exercise, a fitness-based aerial arts studio for women to safely build strength and confidence while having fun!

Oh, and as for my favorite DWTS performer, there are just too many to name. But while I can always appreciate a perfect routine, I can’t help but to root for the underdog who doesn’t have a dance or an athletic background, yet is still is still making significant improvements every week.

Looking for a fun way to support Team Vixen?  Check out their “Rockabilly Christmas” Party for the Red Cross, Sunday, December 18 at the Butte des Morts Country Club. Click HERE for more details.  Can’t make the party? Vote for this dynamic duo!

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Ryan Martin — Dancing With Our Stars Auction: 12 Days of Bidding:

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Kick off your holiday shopping (or treat yourself) while supporting a great cause. This online auction has a variety of wonderful and unique items and experiences available thanks to the generosity of family and friends of Ryan Martin as well as community supporters.

All of the items have been donated, so the proceeds from this online auction will 100% benefit the American Red Cross and help Ryan Martin reach his Dancing with our Stars fundraising goal. You will have twelve days of bidding — this auction runs Monday, November 28 through Saturday, December 9.

Click HERE to get started!!

Check the Facebook page for the last day of the auction, so you can check back in on your bids just in time!

DWOS17 Meet our Star Dancers: Culinary Chemist – Jyll Everman & Sarah Larson

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Sarah Larson (left) and Jyll Everman  – Team Culinary Chemist

Jyll Everman

In the spring of 2016 I moved back to Green Bay after living in Los Angeles for 19 years to help open a new business and re-establish my family roots. I’m the co-owner and executive chef of Gather on Broadway, a full-service event venue. I once competed on Food Network’s Food Network Star and enjoy creating upscale comfort food. I’m blessed with a wonderful family: my husband, Tommy, and two sons Jack and Luke. I love to cook, entertain, play Yahtzee and watch Top Chef. And of course, Dancing with the Stars!

I started dancing around the house at a young age and took “Vogue-ing” lessons in 7th grade! My favorite thing on the planet is the dance floor at weddings. I am the first one out and the last one off.

My dream dance partner would either be Derek Hough or Mark Ballas. Rumor Willis is my favorite all-time participant from ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” because I was touched by her story of being bullied all the time and I felt she really rose above that hate. I also loved Kelly Pickler and Donald Driver.

I love being involved in charitable causes and the American Red Cross is always the first place I donate when disasters happen. It’s a wonderful organization and I’m honored to support it through Dancing with Our Stars!

Sarah Larson

14639711_1697146820532128_8351593407010876392_nOriginally from South Milwaukee, I came to Green Bay five years ago to start my college career at UWGB. Since graduating in 2015, I am now happy to call Green Bay my home where I work as a Quality Control Chemist at Nature’s Way. I am a self-proclaimed nerd so at any given moment you’ll find me geeking out over a book, movie, or new science factoid I recently discovered.  I’m also a big fan of going on hikes as it’s one of my favorite ways to unwind and just enjoy the seldom nice days we get.  Dance has been a major part of my life since I was four and I’m extremely grateful that I’m able to use my passion and talents to give back to this community.

Since I’ve been dancing for 20 years, I have a ton of dance memories making it hard to pinpoint which one qualifies as being my ‘first’. I can say that for most of my childhood, wanting to one day play the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker was the driving force behind my passion for dance. Sadly, I never accomplished that dream, but I’m now in a professional ballroom dance partnership which I think is a pretty good alternate.

My dream dance partner has got to be Neil Haskell. He’s been my dance crush since he was on season 3 of So You Think You Can Dance. I actually got to meet him when I saw the tour. I might have fangirled… a lot.

Benji Schwimmer is my all-time favorite person from “Dancing with the Stars.” He has incredible energy and puts so much personality into his dancing which makes him an incredible performer.

The American Red Cross does so much to help people in our community. It provides so many services to help those in need and are always there to help in times of disaster and tragedy. I am honored to support an organization that does so much!

Want to support the Culinary Chemist?  VOTE by clicking HERE!   or  check out some of their upcoming events:

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COMEDY NIGHT – Join us Tuesday, November 22, for a night of stand up comedy from local comics at Gather on Broadway! Doors open at 6:30, show starts at 7:30! Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door.
Full Bar, food, and many a raffle!

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CULVER’S NIGHT – Come get some delicious custard while helping a great cause! On November 28th from 5-8 pm, 10% of the sales at the Culver’s on Voyager Drive will go towards our campaign for the Red Cross.