Well heeled: Men march against violence

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Saturday, October 25, 2008
— More than 80 men marched proudly for a good cause Friday evening in downtown Janesville. They wore high heels.

While their footwear was questionable, their cause could not have been more worthy.

They marched in heels as a way of saying no to domestic violence. And they raised money for the cause in the YWCA’s second annual Walk a Mile in her Shoes.

So, as I did last year, I have singled out men who went the extra mile to make a point. Without further ado, the second annual Frankie Awards:

Best shoes: Hands down, this one goes to Carl Howard, an accountant at Virchow Krause, who sported 6-inch Plexiglas stiletto heels with straps decorated with little mirrors. He raised $600 for the cause by getting his office mates to pledge, but they had conditions: They got to pick the shoes, and he had to wear them at work half the day.

Young courage: Ryan Vicenzi and Sam Novak, both 14 and from Milton High School, who wore heels despite what their friends might say. “As long as I’m giving to the women and children,” Ryan said.

Walking wounded: Jeff Bealles, whose weight collapsed one of his heels just over halfway through the march. He soldiered on with one shoe.

Public service: The Janesville City Council. Three of its members—Tom McDonald, Yuri Rashkin and Bill Truman—marched in heels. No Janesville School Board members were noticed in the crowd. Their members should be shamed into participating next year.

Fancy dresser: Truman again, not only for his massive platform shoes but for his white cotton skirt with tulle accents that would have looked lovely on some damsel.

Good sport: Ed Martinez, who knelt curbside to buckle Truman’s shoes.

Innovator: Rob Gamble, chef at the Janesville Country Club, who couldn’t find a pair of women’s heels in size 13 double-E, so his wife helped him hack a pair of heeled cowboy boots into a reasonable facsimile, complete with plastic jewels. Rob kept his dignity, however, with a chef’s jacket and a kilt. Rob also donated 200 chocolate truffles for the after-party at The Armory.

Mr. Outlandish: This was a close call, but dapper attorney Larry Barton wins it with a pair of shiny black platform boots that laced all the way up to his knees. It was the silky black shorts with the U.S. Marines logo that put him over the top.

Best makeup: Mark Terry. His mother, Jutta Terry, did his makeup and artfully painted his shoes. He wore a blonde wig and other accoutrement that he hoped added up to a casual French look.

Mark’s sister survived an abusive marriage, Jutta said, so he was marching for her.

Potato, potato, potato award: Gene Schaetten, Bruce Schumacher and Ken Wege of the local Harley Owners Group did not walk, but they wore leathers and heels and drove their Harleys up and down the route gunning their engines.

Best speech: Janesville Police Chief Neil Mahan, who brought sobering news: Just hours before the march, officers responded to a residence after receiving a frantic call from a woman. The man had locked the doors, pummeled her face and broke windows, Mahan said. Three small children were in the house. The man gave himself up peacefully.

“It points out just how severe the problem is,” Mahan said. “We make those runs more than 1,000 times a year in the city of Janesville.” Add to that 100 sexual assaults and 30 forcible rapes.

“You’re here to say Janesville won’t tolerate sexual abuse or domestic violence,” Mahan said.

“Right! That’s right!” the high-heeled men responded, and then burst into applause.

“Today, you bring your hearts, your checkbooks and in some cases your total disregard for appropriate men attire to this event,” Mahan said, restoring the laughter that dominated the march.

The JPD would not violate uniform standards to wear heels, Mahan said. However:

Bravest cop: Milton Police Chief Jerry Schuetz, who wore some tasteful black high-rise slippers that technically weren’t heels, but he certainly outdid the JPD.

Best accessory: Dan Wilcox, whose little dog DaVinci wore little gold booties and a gold ribbon to match Dan’s heels.

A final tally of the proceeds was not immediately available, but each walker was asked to raise at least $250, and at least six of them raised over $1,000, said organizer Allison Hokinson.

And as always, Allison wins Best organizer.

Last updated: 10:38 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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