German Couple Joins Columbus, GA ‘Dancing Stars’ Lineup
Enlarge image (© The Bayonet) Two members of Fort Benning’s international community are hitting the big stage with their dancing shoes this spring — all in the name of a good cause.
Lt. Col. Frank Schuster, the German army Infantry liaison officer, and his wife, Regina, will perform in the 2012 Dancing Stars of Columbus, scheduled for May 11 at the RiverMill Event Centre. Modeled after the popular reality series Dancing with the Stars, the one-night gala competition is a benefit for the Alzheimer’s Association, with proceeds going to the nonprofit organization’s Georgia Chapter.
The couple is among more than 10 local celebrity entries, but they’re the only individuals not paired with a professional dancer. Fort Benning first lady Patti Brown, the wife of Maj. Gen. Robert Brown, the Maneuver Center of Excellence and Fort Benning commanding general, appeared in last year’s event.
The Schusters attended that show and see it as a “wonderful and unique opportunity” to help more than 5.4 million people affected by Alzheimer’s in the United States alone, he said.
“We enjoyed the evening last year and recognized that the idea to conduct this kind of fundraising event really makes sense because a lot of help is needed for people with Alzheimer’s disease,” he said. “Regina works in Germany for the German Red Cross, and within her chapter, they also have a facility where they take care of people with Alzheimer’s. So she knows very well what this disease is about and what kind of help and even how much money is needed.
“On the other hand, we just like to dance. Therefore, we were very happy and honored when we were asked if we would like to be a part of the event this year. And by the way, it’s a good opportunity to represent Fort Benning as the military part of the Columbus community. We hope a lot of people out of the Fort Benning community will show up in uniform cheering and voting for us.”
Dancing Stars guests and supporters can “vote” for their favorite couple in the weeks leading up to and at the show itself, according to the event website at www.dancingstarsofcolumbus.com.
Each dollar raised is a vote. The People’s Choice Winner will be awarded to the couple with the most votes by the end of the evening, while a celebrity panel of judges will select the Judge’s Winner.
Schuster said he and Regina are working on an international tango performance, but spliced with more modern music and beat. It won’t be your standard variety, he said. They’re practicing up to three times a week — usually at the Youth Center on Main Post or the Kelley Hill Recreation Center — and plan to intensify those preparations as the date draws closer.
The couple isn’t seeking the spotlight, Schuster said. They simply want to lend a helping hand for this charitable effort.
“This event is not about us,” he said. “(But) if it helps to perform a show dance in this special case, then we are happy to do it. For sure we are nervous and a little bit excited. If you do something like that and for this special reason, then you want to perform very proper, and we want to give the best we are able to.”
As of Tuesday, the Schusters had raised $600, but they hope to reach $5,000 in contributions for the Alzheimer’s Association.
It’s estimated more than 200,000 Georgians have Alzheimer’s and nearly half a million others are affected through their roles as caregivers and loved ones, according to the Dancing Stars of Columbus website. Someone will develop the disease every 69 seconds. It’s the sixth-leading cause of death in the U.S. and the only one on the rise.