Last Chance to Vote for Dancers

With only a day left until the big event, 20 couples are still working hard on their dance routines for the Dancing with the Sandhills Stars benefit for Communities In Schools of Moore County and Moore Buddies, the two major student mentoring programs in Moore County.

All the dancers are pushing the Sandhills community to vote. Each vote is only $10, and voters do not have to attend the event cast a vote for their favorite dance team.

“This is the only competition where a competitor can buy their championship,” says Lesley Berkshire Brady, a spokesman for Communities In Schools.

Each competing couple will gather votes leading up to the event with all proceeds benefiting the two local nonprofit mentoring programs.

Rounding out the list of notable couples are Linda Pearson and Mayor Mike Haney, Ellen Pearsall and Charlie Jackson, Laura Creed and Bob Lowery, Patti Zoellner and Patrick Coughlin, and Ray Metzger and Karen Backall.

Mike Haney is the recently-elected mayor of Southern Pines, and previously a member of the town council for 12 years. Haney is no stranger to supporting events like Dancing with the Sandhills Stars. This past summer he rode a tricycle in the Trike Races to raise money for United Way.

His partner, Linda Pearson, serves as executive director for the United Way of Moore County. Pearson “lives united” not only in her current position but by serving as a mentor through Communities in Schools and as a volunteer with the Coalition for Human Care. For this event, it has been her mission to reach out to those who have heart for the youth of our community.

Patrick Coughlin and Pattie Zoellner are ready to challenge the Haney/Pearson team. Coughlin became president and CEO of the Moore County Chamber of Commerce, which serves 12 communities including Pinehurst, Southern Pines, Aberdeen and Carthage, in 2006. To add to his resume, he has also danced in “Beauty and the Beast” as the Beast himself during a family vacation to Disney World.

Zoellner has the clinical knowledge and therapeutic skills to break her Dancing with the Sandhills Stars competitors into tiny pieces; however, she chooses to wage her battle to the finish the old-fashioned way – hard work and friends buying votes. Zoellner is an occupational therapist at the Sandhills Children’s Center. Zoellner says she and Coughlin plan to dazzle the crowd with daring tricks and snazzy costumes.

Dancing comes naturally to Ellen Pearsall after years of studying ballet, tap and acrobatics. A native of North Carolina, she has lived >in Moore County for 36 years. >She owned and operated the Market Place Restaurant on Midland Road for many years. >

Her partner, Charlie Jackson, has enjoyed a life filled with interesting travel and people. Now retired, for 30 years he journeyed to many parts of the world, including Northern Africa, Europe and Asia, on assignment by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

“Mr. C-o-o-l,” as he is known, has danced his life and now plans to show his smooth moves and competitive edge.

The Pilot – January 8, 2010

Specialists in the mechanism of injury treatment, rehabilitation, strengthening while improving range of motion, and return to activity, Ray Metzger and Karen Backall are a power-packed couple both personally and professionally.

They are both physical therapists and manage Appalachian Physical Therapy, an outpatient physical therapy clinic in Olmsted Village in Pinehurst. They live on a 23-acre farm in Cameron with four dogs, two cats and four horses.

Dancing with the Sandhills Stars will take place at the Pine Needles Hospitality Center Saturday, Jan. 9.

To see profiles, photos and videos of all the dancers, purchase tickets and to cast a vote, visit, or call (910) 295-1072.

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