QUINCY, Ill. (AP) – Darek Lambert didn’t mind doing a little dancing on Feb. 7 for a good cause.

Lambert and his partner Sara Deters took the stage for a disco-themed number, complete with “a lot of pointing up and around” and some “crazy” moves, during the 10th annual Dancing with Local Stars event.

“I’d heard it was a pretty big event in the community, obviously it’s for a really good cause, and a couple of my friends kind of peer pressured me into it,” Lambert said before the dancing started. “It’s been a lot of fun. I’m not really a dancer. Sara is a dancer, so she makes me look really good.”

The event featured 14 local “celebrity” couples trying to impress the judges and some 700 audience members while raising funds for Cornerstone: Foundation for Family, a nonprofit mental health counseling agency.

“Cornerstone helps those who are struggling with life’s challenges. They also help with adoptive families and help with youth in the community that need services,” said Darla Rischar, who heads the volunteer committee organizing the event. “Tonight is all about helping an agency thrive in this community that is so needed for so many people who are struggling.”



Cornerstone presented its Humanitarian Award to Kris Kutcher, owner of Kristopher’s Hair Studio in downtown Quincy.

“This really isn’t about me. This is about what we can all do for each other,” said Kutcher, who issued a challenge to the audience.

“If everyone did just a little bit every day — random acts of kindness, get involved, volunteer — just think how much better our community would be. Think how much better our country would be if all of us stepped up to the plate and did our part to help each other out,” Kutcher said.

A former Cornerstone board member, Kutcher has worked with the Quincy Humane Society, Child Advocacy Center, the Sarah Birsic Memorial Fund, Adams County Suicide Prevention Coalition and the District – and he’s competed in Dancing with Local Stars.

“If we raise money or volunteer or do whatever we can to make a difference in people’s lives, it’s really what’s important,” Kutcher said.

Just as important is bringing people together to support Cornerstone and spreading the word about its services. Cornerstone “is a vital part of this community,” Lambert said.

But Vicky Lantz turned out for another important reason – to watch the dancers compete.

“I’ve always wanted to come and was never able to,” said Lantz, who lives in Augusta, Ill., adding that she would love to dance in the event. “I think it would be fun.”

Taking top prizes in the competition were overall winners Connie Phillips and Drew Quintero, with Heidi Meyer and Paul Tracy winning People’s Choice.

Haley Higgins and Joshua Lohman came to support her dad and stepmom, Jack and Angie Higgins, who performed a Broadway/freestyle dance.

“It’s a blast,” Lohman said. “It’s nice to get out and do something different.”

Taylor Ramey even tried a different look, turning blue for an Aladdin-themed jazz number with his wife Mallory – she played Aladdin while he was the genie. Neither had dance experience, but when asked to help Cornerstone raise money, they agreed.

Wanting to help Cornerstone also drew Scott and Amy Douglas to the stage for a hip-hop number.

“I wish I could tell you this was on my bucket list, but the reality is it’s for a great cause,” Douglas said. “I’m sure there will be some very, very quality dancers and some more like myself. My wife is certainly much better than I am. She was a longtime dancer. She enjoys it. She’s good at it, so at least one of us will be, but it will be fun.”

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Source: The Quincy Herald Whig, https://bit.ly/38oSW7W

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