Byline: Ellie Oleson
AUBURN -- An assistant fire chief, a police officer, a church minister, a lawyer, a teacher and a coach who accidentally shot himself with a nail gun earlier this month are among the 10 brave volunteers preparing to compete in the sixth annual Dancing with the Stars of Auburn dance competition, hosted by Sally McDermott Dance Centers to benefit Auburn Youth and Family Services.
The event, titled "Hooray for Hollywood,'' will begin at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 31, with a snow date of Feb. 7, at Motorsports International and Thrifty Car Rental, 444 Washington St., Route 20.
Sally D'Arcangelo, executive director of AYFS, said, "It is so much fun, but the cause is important for at-risk children and their families. This is our major fundraiser. I can't tell you how important Sally and John Heaney (owners of Sally McDermott Dance Centers) and their dance teachers are to us. Without all our volunteer dancers and instructors from them and Arthur Murray Dance Studio, there would be no competition.''
Each competitor has been paired with a professional dance instructor.
Mike Hammond, president of Pop Warner Football, will be dancing with Michelle Duclos, who said, "Mike's doing great, except for our major problem on Sunday.''
On Jan. 4, Mr. Hammond accidentally shot himself through his index finger with a nail gun.
"I felt it all the way to my elbow, but luckily the nail went through a joint and out the other side. I'm OK,'' he said.
He also is under pressure since his brother, former Selectman Nicholas Hammond, won the dance competition with Governor's Councillor Jennie Caissie in 2011, the only year two amateurs won.
Mr. Hammond said he would rather be playing football, but "It's for the kids. I'll do anything for the kids. Given the choice, I'll take football all day long. I've danced at weddings and around the house, but that's it.''
Ms. Duclos said she and Mr. Hammond are dancing to songs from the movie "Footloose.''
Glenn Johnson, assistant fire chief, who will be dancing with instructor Sarah Nugent, said he knew he'd have to do this "as a sort of rite of passage'' as soon as he got his promotion.
"I'm a horrible dancer, with no rhythm, and I've never had a dance lesson before, but it's for a good cause. Sarah has been great to work with. I do whatever she tells me,'' he said.
He said he has been practicing once a week since November, with one goal in mind.
"I just want to do better than Jeff Labonte. I've been razzing him, telling...