First-ever Frankie awards make everybody a winner

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Friday, October 26, 2007
— My fellow Men in Heels were a great group. I didn’t get to meet them all, but those I talked to were dedicated to the cause and also to having a great time walking round in women’s shoes.

They deserve our applause. Better yet, they deserve awards. The YW gave awards to some of the walkers Thursday, but I decided to hand out some of my own.

The winners of this year’s Frankie Awards are:

Most courageous—Mark Terry of Terry Printing. Mark was the only man to go whole hog on this thing and wear a dress, a tasteful knit black affair he borrowed from his wife, Mary.

“He’s got panty lines, though,” Mary joked. “I’m Mr. Terry today,” she added gleefully.

Best preparation—Paul Benish, financial adviser at M&I Bank. Paul ordered a fabulous pair of shiny red platform shoes off an Internet site for $35. He also visited his podiatrist, who gave him footpads, and he wore two pair of sox to prevent blisters. Extra points for wearing black fishnet stockings and rolling up his pant legs to show them off.

The YW’s Allison Hokinson said Paul also encouraged his fellow workers to join the fun, and those who couldn’t come took up a collection.

“Anything to raise awareness,” Paul said.

These Boots are Made for Walkin’ Award—Erik Warner, an unemployed young man whose girlfriend, Carissa Jackson, works for the YW. He wore shorts to show off his nearly knee-high vinyl, high-heeled boots.

Old guy award—George Brunner, the 67-year-old city council president and former police chief who dared to wear heels with his famous flattop haircut.

Quadruplets award—Dan Cunningham of Forward Janesville, Jim Lyke of Lamar Outdoor Advertising, and Tony Huml and Mike Austin of the WCLO/WJVL radio stations, for wearing matching mauve-pink heels. Cunningham and Lyke later were disqualified for using the sticks that held their signs as walking sticks.

Austin earned extra points for being the only man to lose a heel. He kept on going, however, limping about a quarter mile.

Supportive women award—Shelly Murphy and Gina Hillmann of US Bank, who came out of the bank with a handmade sign to cheer on the bank’s three male employees, David Peacock, Justin Neuberger and Steven Geisler. All the bank employees and customers were very supportive, the women said.

Gracious host award—John Roherty, who was the honorary parade marshal. He sported not only heels but also a tiara, and he treated everyone to munchies at CK Bar & Grill, 3502 Milton Ave., which he manages.

Intelligent woman award—Jean McCartney, who wasn’t on the walk, but her daughter, Jen DeGarmo, was. DeGarmo related that McCartney’s feet were deformed from wearing heels every day for many years when she taught high school in the 1950s and 60s.

DeGarmo got her mother on the phone, and McCartney told me how heels were expected back in her day, and how she wore them to please her husband.

However, “I stopped wearing ’em when I got older and smarter,” she said.

Prettiest Shoes—Jon Wangerin of M&I Bank. Jon sported a pair with see-through plastic straps holding his feet onto silver platforms, with rhinestones dangling on top. They gave even his big manfeet an amazing allure.

Best organizer—Allison Hokinson, who has big plans for this event in the future. She envisions recruiting student athletes, firemen and policemen, none of which showed up this year. (Police Chief Neil Mahan did send his regrets and a donation). People from nearby communities would be invited as well. Companies could sponsor teams, she added. And more women should come.

And next year, Allison hopes to make it a full-fledged fund-raiser.

So, men of Janesville, there’s your challenge. Will you accept it? Can you truly call yourself a man if you don’t stand up for everyone’s right to live free of violence?

Last updated: 12:36 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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