Ninth annual Stanly County Dancing With The Stars raises record amount for Butterfly House

Published 11:26 am Sunday, September 12, 2021

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On the 20th anniversary of the 9-11 attacks, a patriotic performance and a 50s tap duo took top honors at the ninth annual Stanly County Dancing With The Stars Saturday night.

The event was the first since 2019 and set a record for money raised by the end of the night: $130,470 for the Butterfly House Children’s Advocacy Center.

Butterfly House Director Amy Yow said it was “humbling just to see how everyone came together” for the event.

“If we do this every year, I want our mission to be at the forefront. I don’t want it to be just a show,” Yow said.

She noted this year’s record number came with three fewer couples, nine as opposed to 12 in previous years.

“I’m humbled and grateful to the community for their support,” Yow said.

As has become the tradition for the annual event, the festivities started with a guest speaker who shares their story of how the Butterfly House helped them.

Kelly Earley shared her story of how she was abused starting at 7 years old. She went to the Stanly County Sheriff’s Office in 2017, where Donnie Stevens helped her, then led her to the Butterfly House.

“I began my journey to healing,” Earley said of Stevens and the Butterfly House. “Amy welcomed me with open arms and gave me a sense of hope and comfort.”

To this day, she added, she still gets calls from the Butterfly House to see if she is OK.

This year’s competition was unique for the master of ceremonies, Wes Tucker, and the performers because it was streamed live on YouTube and seen around the world. For the first time, the judges, Ryan Knight, Sabrina Hobson and Brian Scott, were also on camera giving their opinions on the performances.

The Judges’ Choice Award first-place winners were Karmen Smith, a former competitive dancer now working with Carolina Choice Realty, and Norwood Police Department Lt. Levi Crawford.

Team Norwood, aka Smith and Crawford, did a modern dance around and in front of an American flag to “Mr. Red White and Blue” by Coffey Anderson.

Smith sported an ankle wrap after suffering an injury the day before the competition, which she did not let slow her down.

“That’s showbiz,” Smith said after the event. “This was not my first time on stage, not my first injury. It’s not my first time to see literally make it or break it.”

Smith and Crawford only had about one month to practice after another contestant had to back out.

“We said, ‘This is our baby. Let’s run with it,’ ” Smith said.

Even after hurting her ankle the night before, Smith said she and Crawford continued to rehearse their dance.

Crawford said the nerves were there for him until the show started.

“We practiced a couple of times and then it was time to go,” Crawford said.

Honoring those who lost their lives on 9-11 was the plan from the beginning, Crawford said, crediting Smith with coming up with their routine.

Winning the competition was nice, Smith said, but she said their focus was to promote the meaning behind 9-11, along with awareness for the Butterfly House and the Stanly Health Foundation.

“There is so much more of a deeper meaning for everything they do…and we needed to get people to feel and see that,” Smith said.

Second place went to Ashley Wall and Chauncey Bruton for their salsa/hip hop number, and third place to the acro/tango performance from Abigail Broyhill and Chad Taylor.

In the Fundraising/People’s Choice Awards, the winners were Dr. Mindy Turner and Pastor Derrick Adcock, who danced a tap number to MercyMe’s song “Shake” while raising $34,590.

Adcock said he and Turner, named Team Spirit Filled, raised most of the money from several small fundraisers. The pastor of the Norwood Church of the Nazarene, he said the biggest fundraiser they had, a barbecue dinner, raised around $3,000.

“The rest of it was people just donating money…God just took what we had and multiplied it,” Adcock said.

“We did our part. We trusted God to do his part, and He blessed us,” Adcock said. He added his wife, Tiffany, is a volunteer at Butterfly House.

Turner, a dentist and Stanly native, was the first and is the current director of the Stanly County Dental Clinic. The clinic provides dental and oral health care for underserved children in Stanly and the surrounding counties.

Having served youth in Stanly for 18 years, Turner said she is definitely invested in the cause of the Butterfly House and the services it provides children.

“The children are our future; that’s why we are here,” Turner said. “The Butterfly House brings hope and healing in our communities. That’s why it’s so important to us.”

Turner also thanked the Stanly Health Foundation and Atrium Health for their support of the program.

Rebecca Huneycutt and Kevin Spry finished in second place raising $21,741, while Sara Huneycutt and Chad Smith were third with $21,252.

About Charles Curcio

Charles Curcio has served as the sports editor of the Stanly News & Press for more than 16 years and has written numerous news and feature storeis as well. He was awarded the NCHSAA Tim Stevens Media Representative of the Year and named CNHI Sports Editor of the Year in 2014. He has also won an award from Boone Newspapers, and has won four North Carolina Press Association awards.

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