CRESTVIEW — With time running out before Saturday's "Casino Royale"-themed Blue Jean Ball, four volunteer dancing "stars" are polishing their routines.
Friday evening, Bonnie Grundel, Laura Chamberlain and Steve Tuttle converged at the Main Street Fred Astaire dance studio to run through their respective dances.
However, their work to raise money for Covenant Hospice extends far beyond the studio's wood dance floor.
Keep reading to learn more about the dancers!
With Dr. James Stevens, the quartet are also subtly — and not-so-subtly — doing some old-fashioned arm-twisting to wring donations for the hospice from their respective supporters.
Last year's Dancing with the Crestview Stars netted more than $8,000 for Covenant Hospice, the service's development manager, Jenni Perkins, said.
Each advance donation a dancer receives is added to his or her “account,” which is tallied up on event night along with those they receive from attendees following the performances, Perkins said.
"The fundraising strategy that each dancer employs is something they keep close to their chest, as is how much they’ve raised prior to the event," she said.
During "Casino Royale," each dancer will perform a 90-second choreographed routine with his or her Fred Astaire professional partner.
"While busting some cool moves on the dance floor is certainly part of a successful performance, the competition really isn’t so focused on the dance floor at all," Perkins said.
"Really, they are focused on raising awareness in the community of the important work Covenant Hospice does, and asking their fellow Crestview area residents to partner with them."
WANT TO HELP?
WHAT: Dancing with Crestview Stars, part of Covenant Hospice’s "Casino Royale" Blue Jean Ball fundraiser
WHEN: leading up to and including the 6 p.m. Oct. 5 event.
WHERE: Crestview Community Center, behind the post office
HOW TO HELP: Pledge support for your favorite dancing volunteer at www.eventsatcovenant.org/bluejeanball or call Covenant Hospice, 682-3628.
MEET THE DANCING "STARS"
LAURA CHAMBERLAIN, a Laurel Hill resident and mother of three, recently lost a dear friend to leukemia and witnessed hospice care’s impact. Giving back to the community she loves has been a focus of her life.
BONNIE GRUNDEL,a North Okaloosa Medical Center hospitalist physician assistant, is a mother of two and a Covenant Hospice volunteer of six years. She helped establish the Blue Jean Ball as one of the area’s top charity events.
DR. JAMES STEVENSis a radiation oncologist at 21st Century Oncology. The father of two enjoys gardening, traveling and anything musical; he plays the guitar and is learning to play the piano.
STEVE TUTTLE, president of the local chapter of the Special Forces Association, spent 27 years in the U.S. Army, with 22 of those years as a Special Forces Green Beret. Last year, he retired as a chief warrant officer.
Contact News Bulletin Staff Writer Brian Hughes at 850-682-6524 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @cnbBrian.