By Dillon Thomas

FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4) – First responders and public officials gathered on the dance floor Saturday afternoon for “Dancing With a First Responder” in Fort Collins. The fundraiser pairs first responders with public figures like Assistant District Attorneys and others from the northern Colorado community.

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Proceeds from the dance are donated to the local police benevolent fund in Northern Colorado, which assists police officers and their families during times of need.

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The fundraiser, which took place at The Drake Center, sold hundreds of tickets. Dancers included medics, firefighters and even Fort Collins Police Chief Jeff Swaboda. Swaboda was paired with a volunteer firefighter from Larimer County.

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Another pair, Jim Lenderts and Emily Humphrey, said their dance brought their working relationship to new levels. Lenderts serves as the city’s Marijuana Enforcement Officer. Humphrey is an Assistant District Attorney. The duo said they were randomly paired together, but knew each other well.

“Emily and I have worked cases together. We have worked trials together. But, we have never danced together,” Lenderts said.

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“I think, being a trial attorney, you are in front of a jury. So, you have to be on to present your case. I am hoping it will translate (to the dance floor),” Humphreys said.

While the dancing is a unique challenge for participants, most of whom had no experience on the dance floor before, the cause it helps support made the journey worthwhile.

Families like the Clow’s directly benefit from the fundraiser.

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“(Our daughter), Payton, is waiting for a five organ transplant,” said Stacy Clow, a Fort Collins Police officer’s wife.

Stacy Clow and her husband, Curt, use money given from the benevolent fund to help pay for their daughter’s mounting medical bills. Payton and Stacy live in Cleveland for her treatment, while the rest of the family stays in Fort Collins.

“I quit my job. We sold our house,” Stacy Clow said.

Thanks to ticket sales, and donors from the community, the Clow Family is able make ends meet while also staying as close as possible.

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“(Money from the fundraiser) pays for our rent, sometimes for airfare,” Stay Clow said. “We probably couldn’t have survived without their help.”

Previous first responder fundraisers included boxing matches between firefighters and police, and a hockey game as well. Sometimes funds are donated to firefighter beneficiaries as well.

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“It is just hard to put in to words how great it is,” Curt Clow said. “It’s a way to give help to those who don’t usually ask for it.”

Dillon Thomas