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Murray celebrities dance for charity

Jul 06, 2017 01:01PM ● Published by Alisha Soeken

Murray celebrities and their dance instructors raise money for local charities. (Jerry Summerhays/resident)

More than 200 people gathered on a Saturday night to help the Murray Rotary Club raise money for four local charities by dancing.

“Dancing with Murray Celebrities is a fundraiser we started last year. It was successful enough that we repeated it this year,” said Clyde Daines, club president and nine-year member of the Murray Rotary Club.

“I enjoy Rotary very much both for the fellowship—many Rotarians have become great friends—and for the many service projects we do, none of which I could do by myself but can be accomplished with the help of my friends,” Daines said.

Those friends helped facilitate the 2nd annual Dancing with Murray Celebrities event.

Six Murray celebrities were selected to participle: Leesa Lloyd, a 31-year dance and sociology teacher at Murray High; public services director Doug Hill; Kira Wagner, an analyst engineer; Murray’s Chief of Police Craig Burnett; Stephanie Wright, a community educator; and Cal Beck, a coach and teacher at Parkside Elementary.

These six Murray celebrities participated by dancing with professional instructors on May 6 at Hillcrest Jr. High. Emceed by former Miss Utah Heather Anderson and Brian Carlson from Channel 4 news, the audience members cast one-dollar votes to nominate their favorite dancer. 

“Our event was not a dance contest, rather a fundraising contest. And this year’s winner was Doug Hill,” Daines said.

Hill, a Murray resident for 25 years, said, “It was a good thing the Rotary Club judges on the amount of money raised rather than dancing ability. I am obviously a better fundraiser than dancer. Thank you to all my family and friends. I was reluctant to participate in this contest but consented because it benefits several important Murray charities. I am especially grateful for my professional dancer and instructor Denise Gibson who taught me how to dance.”

With the help of Gibson and the other professional instructors the six celebrity dancers successfully raised $8,000.

“Though we do many international projects, this event funds are earmarked for local organizations: The Boys & Girls Club, Murray Greenhouse Foundation, Donated Dental and our new project Operation Santa,” Daines said.

Those organizations were thrilled for the Rotary’s help.

“We are so appreciative and thankful to the Murray Rotary Club for their continued support of the Murray Greenhouse Foundation,” said Sheila Wall, president and executive director of the Murray Greenhouse Foundation. “They have been an active supporter of ours since 2007 and have been a big contributor in making our charity the success that it is today. We are grateful beyond words.”

The Murray Greenhouse serves disabled adults in Murray City.

“Our mission is to provide an individualized program for adults with disabilities to achieve productivity, independence and a contributing place in society. The funds earned from this event will be used to purchase new school chairs and supplies as well as upgrades to our grow boxes in the yard,” Wall said.

But Rotarian members do more then just open their pocketbooks.

“Not only do they raise funds to help lessen the financial burden of running a non-profit such as ours, in addition the Rotarian members also volunteer hours of time to help us with any project that we need help with at our facility,” Wall said. “They are truly remarkable people.”
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