The fourth annual Dancing with the Story County Stars, held Jan. 28, raised over $50,000 to serve older adults in Story County. The event is organized each year by Heartland Senior Services but depends on the participation of local leaders.

“We select leaders among the various communities within Story County to learn to dance,” said Nancy Carroll, executive director at Heartland Senior Services. “Each community leader is paired with an experienced dancer and learns the art with the goal of having people in their respective communities vote with dollars. We appreciate the dancers who put themselves out there in a vulnerable situation to raise money for a good cause.”

This year's list of dance students included John Gookin of Story City. Gookin worked with dancer Nicole Bramow to learn “freestyle.” Gookin was the top fundraiser at the sold-out event, bringing in just over $10,000. He danced in honor of Rich Olive.

In addition to individual donors, the participation of Story County businesses is important each year. Bethany Life of Story City was the premier sponsor for this year's event.

Mark Jackson, event judge, said, “I think it is wonderful that Bethany Life is the main sponsor for the Heartland Senior Services Dancing with the Stars. This is probably one of the most fun events I and others have attended and participated in that raises a significant amount of money for a very worthwhile cause that provides a much needed benefit to those in Story City and Story County.”

Plans are already underway for the fifth annual Dancing with the Story County Stars.

“We are honored to have been part of this event and will continue to support Heartland Senior Services,” said Kari Matheason, chief operations officer at Bethany Life. To learn more about Heartland Senior Services, visit www.heartlandseniorservices.com. To learn more about Bethany Life, visit www.bethanylife.org.