Meet the Dancers!
By Jana E. Pye, Editor, email@example.com
The next Dancing with the Stars of Darlington County fundraising event for Pee Dee Coalition Pee Dee Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Assault will be held on Thursday, January 28 at the Center Theater in Hartsville, and the 13 dance team pairs have been hard at work perfecting their routine. Each local celebrity is paired with a professional dancer, and the pair will compete for the winner of the event, and the People’s Choice Award winner from votes purchased by fans before and during the event. The public is invited to vote for their favorite couple for the People’s Choice Award at the DWTS website www.darlingtoncountydancingwiththestars.com.
The event is a major fundraising effort to raise money for Pee Dee Coalition to assist victims of domestic abuse and sexual assault.
The third in the series introducing the pairs are the dance teams of: Brian Youngblood (Professional) & Fran Elrod (Celebrity) and Michaela Mixon (Pro) & Leo Windham (Celebrity).
Rev. Fran Elrod:
Fran is the pastor at Wesley United Methodist Church in Hartsville where she has served for almost six years. She is married to Larry, and they have three children and three grandchildren. In addition to spending time with her family, Fran enjoys kayaking, good music, and reading a good book. She is a Summa Cum Laude graduate of Columbia College and received her M.Div. from Erskine Theological Seminary.
Fran currently services in leadership roles on several SC UMC Conference Boards and Committees as well as serving on the Board of Directors for the Darlington County Free Medical Clinic.
She has a passion for supporting the Pee Dee Coalition because during her years of ministry and service in medical facilities and in the church, she has seen the devastating effects of domestic violence on women and families. According to Fran, she loves to see people thrive – not just survive, and plans to dance to the glory of God and for the women who need a chance to thrive.
Brian is a senior in the Hartsville High School IB program. He is in the Boy Scouts of America, and is an active member of First Presbyterian Church in Hartsville. Brian is involved with many volunteer efforts in the community, including working with Habitat for Humanity, Christmas in April, Hartsville Interfaith Ministries, Carolina Kid’s Closet, and now the Pee Dee Coalition. He shares that his main passion is music; he plays trombone for the Coker College Wind Ensemble, and sings in the First Presbyterian Church’s youth choir. As a student athlete, Brian played soccer, ran cross-country, and competed in swimming – and lifeguarded in the summers at Prestwood Country Club. Brian shared the following about his decision to join Dancing with the Stars of Darlington County: “I decided to take on the challenge of Dancing with the Stars of Darlington County for two reasons. For one, Mrs. Jennifer Schock asked me to participate while I was lifeguarding one day, and I would never say no to her. The main reason, though, is that when she told me what the Pee Dee Coalition stood for, I knew that there was no way I could say no. This is a great cause against domestic and sexual assault, and I am honored to make a difference in the Pee Dee Coalition’s goal.”
Leo graduated Lamar High School in 1968 and attended the University of South Carolina. He and his wife Jane have two sons and five grandchildren.
During a 38 year career in radio broadcasting, Leo was an on air talent in multiple formats; he and brother Woody were popular as the Windham Brothers Morning Show in both Columbia (WNOK FM, WCOS FM) and in Charleston where the pair created The Breeze Radio Network- four stations in Charleston, Hilton Head – Savannah, Columbia, and Wilmington.
Over the years Leo has been very active in fundraising for various charities, and shared that he has helped raise thousands of dollars for charities including the American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, Harvest Hope Food Bank and many others. “Being on the radio has afforded me the opportunity to do many public service projects.” says Leo. He is recent past President of the Lamar Civitan Club and was instrumental in getting the Lamar Veterans Memorial built and dedicated.
Since retiring and moving home to Windhams Crossroads, he and wife Jane created a blog called Cottage at the Crossroads that features their daily adventures in Lamar, including many diy projects, gardening, recipes, crafts and decorating techniques. An online radio station is featured on the blog, “Crossroads Radio: which features commercial free music (beach, boogie, and blues) 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Find them at: http://cottageatthecrossroads.com.
Leo shared his thoughts on being a part of this event: “I was honored to be asked to participate in the Pee Dee Coalition’s Dancing with the Stars of Darlington County. Anything I can do to increase awareness and raise funds to support the fight against domestic violence and sexual assault in S.C. is a priority. I’m happy to be a part of it.”
Michaela is in the tenth grade and has been dancing since she was only a year old. She is enjoys competition and performance, and shared that, “Performing gives me great joy and I am able to do that not only through dance, but through playing the piano and competitive swim as well.”
Michaela is a proud sister and aunt, and shared that she has two brothers, Mark and Matthew. “Mark is married and has two children, a boy, Kellen (2), and a girl, Jennavee (8). Matthew is married but doesn’t have any children yet.”
Michaela shared her decision to be a part of this event:
“I love dancing and my family very much, so when I was asked to participate in the Pee Dee Coalition’s production of Dancing with the Stars of Darlington County, I eagerly agreed so that I may share my love for dance, while aiding to prevent domestic violence.”
This year’s event will be held Thursday, January 28, 2016 at the Center Theater in Hartsville. It will feature an “Old Hollywood” theme with dances, decorations and items reminiscent of the 1920’s, 30’s, and 40’s.
The Pee Dee Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Assault is a non-profit, volunteer based organization serving eight counties in the Pee Dee Region of South Carolina. Sadly, South Carolina ranks #1 in the United States for deadly violence against women. The Pee Dee Coalition hopes you will join them in this fundraising effort.
For more information, call 843-206-1838 or email DarlingtonCountyDWTS@gmail.com.
Visit their website: www.darlingtoncountydancingwiththestars.com to vote for your favorite couple for the People’s Choice Award.