Get to Know DWOS All-Star: Zeb Metzler

I am an Indiana boy (born and raised) who grew up on the stage with music and theatre all my life!  I moved to Madison in 2003 where I continued my theatre experience and put on my first pair of heels which launched my Drag career where I performed and completed regularly capturing numerous titles including Miss Gay Madison and the first alternate to Mr. Gay Wisconsin USofA.  I met my partner of 10 years in the fall of 2006 at a dance event in Chicago.  We caught each other’s eye from across the ballroom floor and the rest is history!  We reside on Shawano Lake with our White German Shepherd, Jake. Professionally, I am the Learning & Development Manager for Innovative Services where I get to spend my days educating our amazing teams on how to make a difference in someone’s life!  I am also blessed with amazing friends and family who have been by my side and supported me in all that I do.

My favorite moment from my initial DWOS experience is doing the POLKA WITH PETA!!!! My partner Bill danced the year before me and so my first official DWOS experience came with supporting and helping him.  That year I won the “Polka with Peta” raffle and while never doing the polka before in my life, we managed to pull it off like we had rehearsed it…or so they said!  My actual year dancing in DWOS, it was the amazing friends I got to meet and grow with!  And my partner Mina was the BEST!  She made me feel like a pro and allowed me to live my dream of being a ballroom dancer!

So many reasons why I decided to take part in DWOS All-Stars!  The American Red Cross is such a worthy cause and does amazing work that I will continue to support any way that I can. The people that I have met the past 4 years and the relationships that have grown from it are priceless! There is a real sense of family and we all get to share in the fun and passion for dancing!  This year is also my year to turn the tables and showcase my Drag persona who has been a huge part of DWOS the past 4 years with the MirrorBall Bash Drag Show Fundraiser.  I get to showcase my passion for entertaining in front of one of the BEST crowds around! This year I leave it ALL on the dancefloor!

 

Get to Know DWOS All-Star: Marty Williams

I try to be passionate about everything I do. So, my passions are dentistry, dancing, photography, driving boat for the Waterboard Warriors and a little golf. I am married and have 3 children.

The funny thing is dancing was something I never did until a few years ago. I used to be very active in water skiing, barefooting, snow skiing and soccer. But I had an incident that changed all that about ten years ago. I was playing in an adult soccer league and got hit in the chest with a close range shot on goal. When I came to, I couldn’t move anything or feel anything from my neck down to my toes. I ended up with two cervical fusions in my neck. After that I gave up all my high impact activities to protect the rest of my neck.

Then while at a dental meeting I was “dancing” at one of the evening socials and decided I’d like to learn to dance better. When I returned it just so happened that there was a class at the local tennis club being taught by none other than Michael Witte! My wife doesn’t care to dance and so I started doing some competing and have enjoyed it since. So, I give Michael a lot of credit for helping me get involved with dancing. Between dancing and my boat driving it helps to feed that need for an adrenaline rush and competition, both of which I still crave despite the neck injury!

My entire DWOS16 experience was amazing, and one of my favorite moments was performing my dances that evening!

I decided to take part in DWOS All-Stars because it’s a great opportunity to use my passions and help raise some money for the Red Cross and get together with some amazing people and perform again!

Get to Know – DWOS14 All Star – Jody Weyers

Love these people! My volunteer crew for my 40th Birthday Bash Fundraiser!

It’s hard to believe it was four years ago I competed in the 2014 Dancing with Our Stars for the American Red Cross. When I look back on my journey I can honestly say it was one of the most rewarding and humbling experiences of my life.  To this day, I continue to be humbled by all the people who supported me along the way and who contributed to my fundraising campaign in shattering my goal of raising $40,000. My final fundraising total was $56,182.57!

Here we are in year 10 and the final year – it is bitter sweet!  I have been involved with this event since it was just an idea that came out of the mouth of one of our board members, Jim Gagnon, and here we are nine years later, 95 community dancers who gave of their heart and soul to support the American Red Cross and more than $2 million dollars raised for program and services.

People ask me all the time, if so successful, why is this the last year? Fundraisers have a shelf life and DWOS has had an amazing run, but it has gotten harder and harder to find people who can give the time, willing to make the commitment and have the network to be able to raise the minimum commitment we ask.

Reading over my 2014 bio (click HERE to read) so much has changed in my life, but one thing that has not changed is my work and passion for the Red Cross (16 years) and my commitment to engage and be an advocate for volunteering.

In my 2014 bio I talked about my bucket list – in the four years since, I can proudly check off: ballroom dancing, running a ½ marathon, traveling to India and seeing the Taj Mahal and I moved from Green Bay to Madison.

December 2016 in front of the Taj Mahal, Agra, India

My current role with the Red Cross is Donor Recruitment Manager. I work with our community sponsor groups in Sauk and Columbia Counties and in the cities of DeForest, Windsor and Waunakee in setting up blood drives and educating the community about the importance of giving blood.

I am very fortunate I continue to work with an amazing group of volunteers from our blood drive coordinators to all our volunteers working at the drives and those behind the scenes helping to put up posters in their community, clearing the donation space of tables and chairs before the drive and being advocates to recruit donors.

Recently I was reminded, once again, the impact Red Cross volunteers have within a community when disaster strikes.  May 31, 2017, there was an explosion at the Didion Corn Mill in Cambria killing five and many others injured and needing lifesaving blood due to their injuries. Our disaster volunteers were on site immediately supporting all the emergency crews and our mental health volunteers were there to help the families impacted by being the shoulder to lean on, giving out lots of hugs, listening and providing comfort and guidance when their world has been turned upside down.  I saw the impact of the community near and far wanting to help – how they helped was by coming out and donating blood. Five days after the explosion we had a blood drive in the nearby town of Randolph.  Our goal was 56 units and we collected 80 units for a potential of 240 lives saved.  We had to turn people away because we ran out of blood bags.  The community support was again humbling and very heart-warming.

Post from donor, Madeline Spooner: We all gave blood today ❣️💉 to help victims injured in the Didion explosion in Cambria, WI. My heart breaks for the people who lost their lives, including Duel Block who was best friends with all of these sweet kids. Red Cross’ goal was to collect 56 units and a total of 80 units were given. A potential of 240 lives saved! Feels so good to do good and be surrounded by such amazing, lovely people.

Over my 16 years of working with the Red Cross and volunteers I have witnessed countless acts of kindness and am blessed to have crossed paths with some of the greatest people in our community.

My goal for the 2018 Dancing with Our Stars and the goal of our amazing All-Star dance crew is to make this year the BIGGEST and raise the MOST money from any other year. Our goal is to raise more than  $600,000.  I hope you will give a gift in support of me and the American Red Cross! (click HERE to donate).

In closing, I want to give a special thank you to Shawn Kiser, Executive Producer of DWOS. You are the big brother I never had. I am forever grateful for our friendship, teamwork, your positive “go big or go home” attitude and for always having my back. We have had so many amazing memories and laughs since you came on board in 2012. I also want to give a shout out to my #RAGECREW –— You know who you are. I am looking forward to putting on my dance shoes once again for one final performance for the Red Cross Dancing with Our Stars …… The Last Dance!!!

Here are my videos from my 2014 Dancing with our Stars journey! 

DWOS17 Meet our Star Dancers: Woody on 94.3 Jack FM

img_5503-57f2bb8c43491I am the program coordinator and on-air talent for 94.3 Jack FM. I am also a weekend entertainer, providing DJ and emcee services for brides and grooms on their wedding days. I have been married for 20 years, we have 10 children (some of whom are foster children living with us). In my free time, if I have any, I enjoy going to the movies or hanging out at a concert.

One of the reasons that I am participating in this adventure is because of my son: Charlie.  He was born on May 18, 2009.  It was discovered quickly that he had some abnormalities as well as biliary atresia. Biliary atresia occurs when there is no bile duct from the liver to the small intestines. Basically, the bile made and stored in the liver is unable to be excreted from the body. He was also born without a gallbladder another storage unit for bile. This bile builds up in the blood stream and that is when you see the yellowing of the eyes and skin. Charlie had a Kasai procedure to try and repair this defect, however that surgery was unsuccessful. His only chance at long term survival was a liver transplant. Without a transplant, most children born with biliary atresia typically do not survive past the age of two.

Woody and his dance partner, Mina Witte of Simply Ballroom.

Woody and his dance partner, Mina Witte of Simply Ballroom.

Charlie’s story from the first eight weeks of life until his transplant spanned just over one year. There are too many details to provide in this brief synopsis. There are some vital facts that helped to facilitate his survival. The amazing doctors and nurses who helped us care for him on a daily basis, and all of the blood products he received during his many days in the hospital. His transplant stay in the hospital was 122 days. During this period of time his life was like a roller coaster ride. He had countless surgeries, tests, as well as blood products. Thanks to the American Red Cross, Charlie was able to receive 20 units of red blood cells, 21 units of fresh frozen platelets, 14 units of plasma, and 1 unit of cryoprecipitate.

Without those blood products during his stay as well as during his transplant, Charlie would not have survived. Please consider making a donation to the American Red Cross. You never know when someone you love will need blood products.

 

DWOS17 – Meet our Star Dancers: Dr. Ryan Martin

ryanmartingreybg550px-57c9f64c59315I’m the chair of the Psychology Department at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and a nationally known anger researcher.  I earned my doctorate from the Counseling Psychology program at the University of Southern Mississippi where I studied anger under Dr. Eric Dahlen.  I teach courses in Abnormal Psychology, Psychology of Emotion, Research Methods in Psychology, and a capstone course on anger and violence.  Although I study healthy and unhealthy anger in a variety of contexts, I’m best known for my work on how anger is expressed through social media.  My work has been featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, and USA Today as well as on National Public Radio and various other news outlets.

I’ve been married for 16 years and have two young sons, with whom I spend most of my free time. Our family enjoys trips to Door County and visits with other family throughout Wisconsin and Minnesota. In Green Bay, family time is spent at Bay Beach, the Farmers Market, the Children’s Museum, kids’ sports and dance lessons, and bike rides on various trails throughout Green Bay. When I take time for myself, I enjoy running, my favorite pastime, and run as many of the local races as possible.

My first dance memory comes from when I was around five or six-years-old and was at a wedding with my family.  I was watching people dance and I really wanted to get out on the dance floor with them but was a little bit too shy.  I went and found my mom and she invited me to dance with her.  I remember being struck by how bad I was compared to everyone else.  They had all made it look so easy and I just felt awkward and weird.

My wife, Tina, is my dream dance partner. While Apolo Anton Ohno is my favorite all-time performer from “Dancing with the Stars”. I had been a big fan of his from watching him in the Olympics, and really admired his personal story.  His freestyle dance on DWTS, though, was particularly amazing.

(L-R) Shawn Kiser, MC interviewing Dr. Ryan Martin at our Kickoff event on Oct 4 at The Marq.

(L-R) Shawn Kiser, MC, interviewing Dr. Ryan Martin at our kickoff event on Oct 4 at The Marq.

I moved to Green Bay from Hattiesburg, Mississippi, in July of 2005, less than two months before Hurricane Katrina devastated the place I called home for five years.  I had many friends, coworkers, and former students who were living throughout southern Mississippi and Louisiana, and I watched with sadness and fear as they suffered because of the storm.  I remember feeling profoundly helpless as I watched things unfold, but I also remember all the volunteers that were being dispatched by the American Red Cross to help.  It was comforting to know that someone was doing something, and that even though I couldn’t help directly, I could donate to the people who were able to.

I am excited to get involved in the Dancing with Our Stars fundraiser for two reasons. First, and most obviously, I believe in the Red Cross and value the work they do.  I am happy to raise money for the organization that was there for so many of my friends and has been there for so many others.  Second, as a teacher I am constantly encouraging my students to step outside of their comfort zone and try things that are new and difficult.  Dancing as part of this fundraiser is a chance for me to do the same.

Looking for a way to support Ryan? Here are two campaigns going on for this October.  Check out his event facebook page for more information.  “Vote” online for Ryan at:

https://www.crowdrise.com/dancingwithourstars/fundraiser/ryanmartin17

 

 

inktober

 

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