The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Sunday Profile

September 21, 2013

Stars shine for United Way

Additional photos from the event

BECKLEY — At what’s being dubbed the social event of the season, more than 800 attendees came out to support the United Way’s biggest fundraiser, Dancing with the Stars.

Last year the event raised $50,000, and United Way Executive Director Margaret Ann O’Neal said she expected even higher totals this year.

“I’m just so excited,” O’Neal said before the show got started. “It’s obviously a sold-out crowd and the dances are awesome.”

She said she has had the privilege of watching the dancers rehearse the past couple days and she was excited to see them on stage.

“This event wouldn’t be possible without the community we live in. They love it and it’s so much fun to get dressed up.”

Outside on the red carpet, the dancers arrived by limousine, all decked out in fabulous suits and dresses.

All the dancers said they were a bit nervous before the show got started, but overall, they were all just excited to be helping out such a great cause.

“It’s great to think of what we’ve been able to do together to help the lives in southern West Virginia,” Sherrie Hunter said.

Hunter was dancing alongside William O’Brien and she said, “We’ve been so blessed to work with such great choreographers and professionals. It’s a very special event for all of us.”

Stephanie Rizo, who works with Dr. Brett Eckley, said she came out to support him and his dance partner, Lori Tabit.

“I’ve helped him with some of the fundraising and I think it’s a great way to get the community involved.”

Jennifer Gwinn agreed that it’s a fun way to help out a great cause.

“I’m here to support our friends Elmer and Libby,” Gwinn said. “The United Way is a great organization that does a lot for the community.”

Elmer Coppoolse and Libby Kelly were choreographed by Beckley Dance Theatre Director Jerry Rose and were the first two on stage Friday night.

Judges Kristen Pennington, Sarah Abrams, Heather Zickefoose and Craig Kaufman were seated above the stage for a bird’s-eye view of the dancers.

Abrams, a United Way board member, said last year she had initially been asked to dance, but they decided she had too much experience, so she came on board as a judge.

“I was a little blindsided last year. I’m a little nervous this year, but I’m more prepared. It’s going to be a great competition and it’s our largest fundraiser.”

Other dancers were Charles “Chaz” Turner and Merrily McAuliffe, Eric Thomas and Melanie McGraw, David Chinn and Donna Williams.

Frank Wood, United Way campaign chairman, said, “This is a great night for the United Way, but there are even better days ahead for the 34 agencies who receive the contributions from the event.”

For more information about the United Way, visit www.unitedwayswv.org.

-----

At the conclusion of the evening, which raised $80,780, the following winners were announced:

Judge’s Choice:

No. 1 — Eric Thomas and Melanie McGraw

No. 2  — Dr. Brett Eckley and Lori Tabit

People’s Choice:

No. 1  — Dr. Brett Eckley and Lori Tabit,

No. 2  — David Chinn and Donna Williams

 — E-mail: wholdren@ register-herald.com

1
Text Only
Sunday Profile
  • New river 10 VIDEO: New River shows off Arts and Science Building

    Surveying the sun-drenched, soaring student center inside New River Community and Technical College’s newly renovated Arts and Science Building, it’s difficult to imagine that as recently as a year ago a rabbit warren of 20 windowless offices occupied this space.

    March 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • gee1 Home to these hills

    New West Virginia University President E. Gordon Gee is no stranger to West Virginia’s rolling hills.

    March 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • randy veggies and chips Accountability helps Fayetteville man change his lifestyle, improve his health

    In his late 40s, Randy Housh’s energy slowly dropped. He just felt tired a lot. His feet sometimes went numb. It had been coming on for a while. “I just felt blah most of the time,” he recalls.

    March 2, 2014 2 Photos

  • 021614 News Christian 3.jpg City Chief

    Within his first two weeks as Beckley Police chief, Lonnie Christian has already made some major changes at the department.

    February 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • McNeely to run for delegate seat

    James W. “Jim” McNeely has announced his candidacy for the 28th District of West Virginia House of Delegates Democratic Primary.

    February 9, 2014

  • smoke ad1 The real cost

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration wants teenagers to know the “real cost” of smoking — and it’s not measured in dollars. Teens who pick up a cigarette habit will wind up paying with their skin, their teeth and even their freedom, a new ad campaign warns.

    February 9, 2014 3 Photos

  • 020214 Money Dr. Hale 1.jpg Coming home to southern West Virginia

    Johnathon Hale grew up in southern West Virginia, graduating from Liberty High School in 2001. He enjoyed the people and culture of this area and made it a goal to return after he received his formal education.

    February 2, 2014 3 Photos

  • VA lambert Healthy Veterans, Healthy Communities

    Veterans’ health benefits are an important part of honoring our military for the sacrifices they made for our freedom. In keeping with the continuing provision of health options, the Veterans Health Administration is employing a team approach to providing excellent care.

    January 26, 2014 2 Photos

  • church 7 Living room worship

    It was early 2011 when church leaders at Beckley’s United Methodist Temple began devising a plan for the future of their ministries.

    January 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • hospice hallway fbf.jpg Amazing Grace

    John Brenemen was devastated.

    January 12, 2014 3 Photos