Catherine W. Idzerda" />

YWCA Walk a Mile event raises money to prevent domestic abuse

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Catherine W. Idzerda
Saturday, August 28, 2010

What would Frankie do?

Every year, Gazette reporter Frank Schultz covers “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes,” a fun event for an important cause: Combating domestic violence by raising money for the YWCA.

After the event, Schultz awards the “Frankies,” featuring his favorites in random categories such as “Best Quip,” and “Don’t Touch Me, I Might Fall.”

This year, Schultz was busy covering breaking news—pesky news—leaving his hapless co-worker in charge of the awards.

While no one can know with absolute certainty WWFD, we can make some educated guesses.

So, without further ado, the modified Frankies for 2010:

Overall winner: The YWCA’s clients. The YWCA provides a variety of services to victims of domestic abuse and their families ranging from to safe shelter to counseling and legal support.

At Friday’s event, Janesville Police Chief David Moore told participants and supporters that two-thirds of the violent deaths in the city are related to domestic violence.

Last year, the event raised about $40,000, said Allison Hokinson, YWCA community relations director.

Most likely to diverge from store brand: Bill Schendt was wearing red, sparkly Dorothy-in-Oz high-heeled shoes.

Schendt, chief financial officer of Blain’s Farm & Fleet, admitted that the shoes were not Carhartt’s, one his store’s regular brands.

It was his second year in the walk, and these were new shoes.

“I saved my old ones—they’re like your first prom dress,” Schendt said.

His wife, Kathy, was philosophical about the whole thing.

“My mother never told me I’d have to teach my husband how to walk in heels,” she said.

Best looking grandpa: Larry Barton, Janesville lawyer who raised $2,000 for the event. He wore shorts with the U.S. Marines logo paired with shiny black lace-up boots with platform heels.

“They’re so me,” he said.

While many people were slightly embarrassed by the sight of a dignified lawyer in lace-up boots, his grandchildren loved them.

“Nice boots, grandpa!” said his delighted granddaughter, Kaya Barton, 10.

Most honest campaign pledge, ever: Bill Truman, Janesville City Council member, had to take a break from the heels he usually wears for the event.

“I’ve got bad knees—and they were killing me,” Truman said.

It’s his third year in the event, and he went from 4-inch to 2-inch heels to modified sneakers spray-painted and bedecked by flowers.

Truman is the in middle of a campaign for the 44th state assembly seat.

If elected, Truman said he’ll continue to support the YWCA in the “Walk a Mile” event.

Incumbent Mike Sheridan also showed up, but only after the hard part—walking in heels—was finished.

Big man, big chicken award: Sgt Chad Pearson, Janesville Police Department. Yes, it’s true, he’s an outstanding officer and a member of the police department’s domestic violence intervention team. Kudos to this nice young man.

But where are his heels?

When asked, Pearson smiled and laughed a little nervously—the wrong response to give a journalist.

Janesville Police Officer Paul McBride, who also is a member of the domestic violence intervention team, walked in the event.

Hokinson said the intervention team has made a difference in the lives of victims.

Members of the team re-interview victims of domestic violence after the initial police call.

Often, they can get more information to—and from—victims after the crisis period has passed.

Man of the year, possibly man of the decade: Jon Wangerin of M&I Bank. For the third year in a row, Wangerin served as chairman for the event. Not only did he wear a stunning pair of pink sparkly shoes, but he spent the year recruiting friends and co-workers to walk in the event.

When walkers were asked why they were particiapting, the most common answer was “Jon made me do it.”

Best hope for the future: A number of dads brought their young children to the event. They included: Ryan Brehm and his son Cody, 3; Mike Payne and his children Zach 4 and Brooke, 6; and Mike Britton and Zach, 9.

Most painful three miles: Steve Knox ran—yes, ran—in high red heels. He made three loops of the course, lapping the walkers at least once.

Best looking legs on a brother-in-law: Steve Thompson. Conflict of interest disclaimer: He was the only brother-in-law this reporter had in the event.

Last updated: 2:37 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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