Friday, February 15, 2013

Dancing with the Valley Stars dancers step up donations

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JoAnne Poindexter

JoAnne Poindexter


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Valley banker Randy Nicely may have been "drafted" as a contender for the 2012 Dancing With the Valley Stars contest, but he walked away a champion.

Nicely tackled a hip-hop number during the Nov. 10 event and raised the most money in red Salvation Army kettles as he and nine other Roanoke Valley celebrities danced to raise money for Turning Point, the Salvation Army's center for victims of domestic violence and their children.

He shared "People's Choice" honors with Gloria Randolph-King, a retired Roanoke educator, when they were chosen as the top entertainers by a loud, boisterous vote of those in attendance.

"There was a lot of electricity and excitement in the air at the dance," Turning Point director Evelyn Jordan recalled.

The second annual event brought in slightly more than $25,000 — about $11,000 of that coming in through the dancers' kettles — for the direct services provided by Turning Point.

The 60-bed shelter on Salem Avenue served 220 victims and their children in 2012 and worked more than 700 advocacy hotline calls, Jordan said.

Most residents spend between 45 to 90 days at the shelter, utilizing counseling, classes and access to medical, legal and other services to help them return to independent living.

Turning Point is accredited and is the only secure domestic violence shelter in Virginia. It has seen an increase in the number of referrals during the past year, according to Suzanne Gandy, Salvation Army development director.

The shelter is trying to increase its outreach efforts to include women who are not ready to enter a shelter but need medical, legal or other assistance to avoid becoming victims of domestic violence.

Before Dancing With the Valley Stars, Nicely said he felt committed to helping survivors of domestic abuse. After an employee became a domestic violence victim in 2009, Valley Bank instituted an ongoing employee recognition program that benefits Turning Point.

Other dance participants included Melinda Payne, a Salem City official and 2011 winner; Roanoke's Vice Mayor Court Rosen; News7 anchor Hollani Davis; Roanoke Regional Partnership Executive Director Beth Doughty; Virginia Museum of Transportation Executive Director Beverly Fitzpatrick; Carilion Clinic-CRMH Pediatric Medical Director Dr. Lisa Uherick; HCA Lewis Gale Medical Center Associate Chief Operating Officer Robert Marmerstein; and Dr. Melanie Prusakowski, Carilion Clinic pediatrics emergency room doctor.

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