Dancing with the Stars Fundraiser Exceeds Expectations

The 4th Annual Dancing with the Stars for the American Red Cross of Northeast Wisconsin exceeded expectations, with the largest (sell-out) crowd, record fundraising and increased awareness to programs and services. This year’s event was held on Saturday, February 18 at the Radisson Hotel and Conference Center in Green Bay.

Tommy Fox and Alyssa Zellner

Bob Warpinski and Taryn Oleson

Together, with the amazing efforts of our ten celebrity dancers, our sponsors, and with the support of the community, we raised $189,000 to support Red Cross programs and services in our community.

“Here at the American Red Cross, we are truly humbled by the outpouring of community support received through the “Dancing with the Stars” event,” said Steve Hansen, the Chapter Executive. “Saturday night, the entire event concluded with the entertainment and demonstration of dancing skills by our 10 stars, but the real event started well over three 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; State Farm; Festival Foods; Nicolet National Bank; Broadway Automotive and the Schneider National Foundation. We also thank our media partners of WBAY-TV2 and WIXX for their promotional support.

Our dancers definitely put their best foot forward to entertain and dazzle a sold-out crowd of 810 guests and volunteers. Our evening began with dinner and followed by our all-star dance program were each celebrity performed two dances. The night concluded with the awards ceremony and open dance for all our guests with music provided by Big Mouth & the Power Tools.

Taking away the top honors for the Mirror Ball Fundraising Trophy was Kate Burgess(right), Owner & President of FulfillNet AND Staci Kring (left), Vice President, Retail Sales of Schreiber Foods. These two ladies raised $47,000 each to support the Red Cross.

The People’s Choice award for showcase one went to Tommy Lemkuil and Taryn Oleson for their jive to “Footloose”. People’s Choice award for showcase two went toStaci Kring and Rane Cegelski for their Foxtrot to “Fever”.

Matt Smith and Kari Hinrichs

The Judge’s Choice were awarded to Brad Hutjensand Alyssa Zellner, for their Cha Cha to “Give Me Everything (Tonight)” forshowcase one and forshowcase two Matt Smithand Kari Hinrichs won for their Waltz to “Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman”.

Special judges award went to Tom Lemkuil and Kate Burgess for their showmanship and Staci Kring for her technical expertise.

Special thanks to George GraphosCami Rapson and Chris Roth WBAY-TV 2 Anchors for being the masters of ceremonies and to Rebecca Messenger and Tom Choudoir for their professional, colorful and official judging commentary.

Tricia Nell and Jay Morth

Tom Lemkuil and Taryn Oleson

Thank you to all our star dancers for their time, commitment, energy and passion: Kate Burgess, Owner & President of FulfillNet; Tommy Fox, On Air Personality, WIXX; Brad Hutjens, Vice President/Chief Credit Officer of Nicole National Bank; Staci Kring, Vice President, Retail Sales, Schreiber Foods; Tom Lemkuil, Architect; Dawn McCoy, Owner of Tranquility Spa;Tricia Nell, Attorney, Liebmann Conway Olejniczak & Jerry, S.C.; Rebecca Schuld, Meteorologist, WBAY-TV2; Matt Smith, Weekend Morning Anchor, WBAY TV2; Robert (Bob) Warpinski Jr, IBM Senior Location Leader & Client Executive;  and Janet Gollnick, owner of DanceSport of Green Bay and artistic director of the event, Rane Cegelski,Chris Flores, Kari Hinrichs, Jay Morth, Taryn Oleson and Alyssa Zellner from DanceSport of Green Bay.

Thank you to our committee, volunteers and most of all the community for supporting your local American Red Cross of Northeast WI.

To view photos and video of the entire evening please go to our Facebook Page.

Get to Know: Brad Hutjens

Hi! I am Brad Hutjens, the Chief Credit Officer of Nicolet National Bank.  I am originally from De Pere and moved back to Green Bay in 2003 after finishing college at UW-Madison.  I am also a graduate of Marquette University.  I am currently engaged and attempting to assist my beautiful fiancé, Ryanne Cunningham (soon to be Hutjens), in planning our wedding in August.  On my free time I enjoy running and working out with Ryanne, attending various sporting events, golfing (after all, I am a banker), and going out to dinner.

I would have to say that my dancing ability is very similar to my pool game.  More specifically, I feel that I am a better dancer in that 3-5 drink range, and, on either side of that range, I’m just not that good.  However, any natural skill that I do show on the dance floor may go back to my childhood.  Due to the fact that I am the youngest child in my family and the only boy, I had to sit through every dance class that my older sisters took.  To this day, I don’t understand why my mom had to be at every dance practice…?

The reason that I am participating in Dancing with the Stars is because of the worthy organization it benefits, the American Red Cross.  The organization does an amazing job of providing relief and support when it is needed most. I am proud to be a part of this event along with the other Stars that have been chosen for the 2012 Red Cross Dancing with the Stars event!

Dance my Son, as you Never Have Before by: Mrs. Jane Witczak

Eric Witczak is the Senior Vice President Retail Banking Manager at Nicolet National Bank. He is a New London native and graduate of St. Norbert College. Eric and his wife, Kelly, have three children: Evan (age 8), Lauren (age 4) and Michael (age 1). Eric coaches baseball and football for his son Evan. He is Vice Chairman of the Board of the American Red Cross Lakeland Chapter and also serves on the board for the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Phoenix Fund.

When Dr. Seuss passed on in 1991, many secrets passed along with him. One well kept secret was that Dr. Seuss sometimes used writers to help him when he had writer’s block. One of these writers was Mrs. Jane Witczak, Eric’s mom. We asked her to pen his biography as only she can. “On a bright summer’s day, in the land of green trees, By a babbling brook, with a warm gentle breeze, He came into this world and he filled it with joy, The sun, it was shining on my bright little boy. Except when he wasn’t, cause sometimes it was true, That he wasn’t that perfect little boy that I knew, He hung out with Wuzzles, and he played with Kazah, He once even tried a Zipay Two Horrah! Then he got into sports, and all seemed o.k. It was basketball, football and golf all the day, For the Bulldogs of New London, he was star of the show The sportiest sports sportster as far as I know Now he’s married, three kids with his beautiful wife, Wildly successful, he has a great life. His job at the bank keeps him busy, it’s true, And I hear that on Sundays, he’s in the first pew. Now dancing?!? Oh my, now that is quite rare, You see, his feet aren’t exactly made up of air But the cause, it is good, as clear as the sky, (They don’t draw blood there, do they?), Oh wait, where was I? So dance my son, as you never have before, Go boogie around up and down the dance floor, Do the Ziggle, the Zaggle, the Franser and Strop, The Brustle with Muscle and Kalico Kop Don’t forget the Scruzzle, nor the Flippity Flu, Make them all jealous with your Bippity Boo! And while you’re performing, remember your smile, You’ll be a big winner, no matter your style!”

Seriously, Eric is very proud to support the mission of the American Red Cross.