By LEAH STRATMANN
Photos by Jeffery Patrick
Judging by the huge smiles on all the faces you saw, Catwalk 2-1-1 was the place to be last Saturday night when Community Walton unveiled the Men Who Service Walton County calendar and with each month’s designated man taking a strut down the catwalk at the Embassy Suites Hotel. The pre-party got started with enough time for attendees to have some adult beverages and get ready to cat call when the chosen men revealed themselves. Those selected had been under strict orders of secrecy for weeks.
Local actress and all around clown Teance Blackburn got the crowd to giggle as she showed off her array of glorious jewelry on loan to her by McCaskill and Company and generally revved up the group to get them ready to party. Not only did Blackburn do duty as an entertainer, she cleverly wrote a script that weaved together the man of the month with many of the auction items up for grabs after the strutting was over.
In all, 12 men who serve the citizens of Walton County now grace a very handsome catalog. Starting with Mr. January and continuing through the year, the men are Jamie Huggins, Henry Nooe, Paul Hunter, Mike Griggs, Benjamin Tandy, David Hopkins, Sean Hughes, Stephen Brinker, Jeffery M. McVay, Patrick Ferry, Brook Stetler, and Tilman Mears. The men represent law enforcement, fire fighters, teachers, clergymen, businessmen, and physicians. All worked hard to rehearse for the show and they were clearly having as much fun as the people watching them.
Crowned Man of the Year for 2011 was Lane Rees who emerged victorious after an online vote.
With ticket sales, auction items, and calendar sales, Community Walton is more then halfway to its goal of having enough money to install a 2-1-1 social services hotline for the region. The number of businesses and people who came together to make this a seamless and successful charity event are too numerous to mention. Members of SHOC, (students helping our community) the youthful arm of Community Walton, escorted people where they needed to go, hawked calendars and generally made themselves indispensable under the able guidance of member Shondra Trantina.
South Walton Mosquito Control commissioner and local business owner John Magee came to the event with his eye on the prize of securing the tickets to the next Super Bowl. He outwitted, outlasted, and ultimately shouted out the winning bid because he said he had cleared the month of February and the money went to a worthy cause.
Even the sole reporter at the event benefited by the generosity of a stranger when professional photographer Jeffery Patrick generously agreed to share his photos in exchange for a photo credit. Altruism is wonderfully contagious.
Catalogs may still be purchased through Catwalk211.com. In the next few weeks, they will also be available at a number of other locations. Not ones to rest on their laurels, organizers are already gearing up for next year’s event.
Leah Stratmann may be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org