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Hempfield lawmaker, others hitting the dance floor for charity

| Thursday, Sept. 19, 2013, 7:59 p.m.
Markus Gresko of Greensburg, an assistant dance instructor at TDI Ballroom Dance Studio in Greensburg, rehearses the cha cha with Westmoreland County Judge-elect and attorney Meagan Bilik DeFazio on Monday, September 16, 2013 in preparation of the 'Dancing with Celebrities of Greater Greensburg' event .
Brian F. Henry | Tribune-Review
Markus Gresko of Greensburg, an assistant dance instructor at TDI Ballroom Dance Studio in Greensburg, rehearses the cha cha with Westmoreland County Judge-elect and attorney Meagan Bilik DeFazio on Monday, September 16, 2013 in preparation of the 'Dancing with Celebrities of Greater Greensburg' event .

State Sen. Kim Ward has been using her free time away from Harrisburg to learn some fancy footwork.

The two-term Republican lawmaker from Hempfield is one of the contestants for Dancing with Celebrities of Greater Greensburg 7-11 p.m. Sept. 27 at the Ramada, off Route 30, east of Greensburg.

The fundraiser benefits Greater Greensburg Faith in Action, a sponsor of the event with the United Way of Westmoreland County.

“When they asked me if I'd be willing to dance, I said I'd loved to, even though I've never done this in my life,” Ward said.

“It's been fun, and it's good exercise,” she added.

Dancing alongside Ward are Greensburg code enforcement officer David Wodoslawsky, John Noble of noblemediation; Jayne Huston of Seton Hill University; county judge nominee Meagan Bilik DeFazio, Regina Beatty of Mosaic Wealth Consulting; community volunteer Nancy Anderson and Luis Martinez of United Parcel Service.

Volunteers with Faith in Action help people 60 years and older.

“It's both — a competition and it's fun,” said Lori Sendro, program director.

Dancers can receive a judges award and three Peoples Choice awards.

District Judge James Falcon, attorney Michael Quatrini and Sheldon Ingram of WTAE-TV are the judges.

Tickets cost $75 and can purchased through Friday at www.unitedway4u.org, by calling 724-205-6282 or emailing program director Lori Sendro at lori@unitedway4u.org.

Dancing instructors have volunteered their time and given free lessons to the contestants, Sendro said.

Ward and dance partner Jerry Gresko of TDI Ballroom in Greensburg have been practicing two or three hours a week over the last five weeks. They will dance the bachata tango.

“I never even heard of the bachata,” Ward said. “But I said we'd go for it, and it's been a lot of fun.”

The pair completed their dance routine earlier this month and now are polishing their final steps.

Ward said she was glad to help Faith in Action.

“It's a friendly competition and a good cause,” she said.

Bilik DeFazio, winner of the Republican and Democrat nominations for county judge in the spring, will be doing the cha-cha.

“I did dancing little girls do as I was growing up,” Bilik DeFazio said. “I thought it (cha-cha) would be easier than it was.”

She and instructor Markus Gresko, Jerry Gresko's son, have been practicing three or four days a week since July.

“It's so fun,” Bilik DeFazio said. “It's addicting, really. It makes you feel so young and energetic.”

Bob Stiles is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-6622 or bstiles@tribweb.com.

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