Tribune-Courier News Editor
METROPOLIS, Ill. – Marshall County’s star in the Lourdes “Dancing with our Stars” fund raiser was none other than Dr. H.W. Ford.
The event was held March 23 at Harrah’s Metropolis. Proceeds went to the American Cancer Society.
Rita Bailey, chairwoman for the event, said “Dancing with our Stars” is still counting proceeds, and has some expenses to pay.
“I think it’s safe to say we raised over $237,000,” Bailey said.
Ford, 81, and his partner, professional dance instructor Lynda Clark, took second in audience polling. The two donned military uniforms and danced to “The Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy from Company B.”
Ford’s uniform was the very same one he was issued during his service as an airborne radio mechanic in the U.S. Air Force more than 60 years ago. He spent some of his four years of service in the Korean theater working on B-29s.
“It was my old uniform I was issued in 1951,” Ford said. “I had to let the pants out by about an inch. We danced what they call the swing, but it used to be called the jitterbug.”
Bailey said 20 teams participated. In audience polling, Carl Baker and partner Angie Woods took first. Ford and Clark placed second and Kim Homra and Danielle Johnson took third. Homra was the top fundraiser with over $30,000. This was the seventh year of the annual event.
“It’s not too bad to finish second out of 20 teams,” Ford said. “The uniforms were my partner’s idea. I think that’s what the audience liked. I thought several teams danced better than I did. I’m 40 years older than everyone else.”
Ford, 81, said he learned to dance in his youth and danced in service clubs. Dancing sporadically after his marriage, he kept fit by running.
“Carl Baker is an ophthalmologist up in Paducah. He and his partner could have been on national T.V. They really looked good,” Ford said.
Ford said he agreed to participate in the fund raiser a year earlier. To prepare, he has spent the last six months practicing at least one hour per week with Clark. In the competition, Clark dressed in the uniform of the Women’s Army Corps.
“The last time I looked, I’ve raised about $10,200,” Ford said. “It’s probably between $10,000 and $11,000. You have to ask your friends for donations, and that’s about as hard to do as the dancing.”