Once again, Great Bend men answered the question, “Are You Man Enough?” by putting on high heels and walking or running down Main Street to raise awareness about domestic and sexual violence.
For the fifth annual Walk a Mile in her Heels, 10 teams – each with four men – wore 4 1/2 inch red stilettos as they ran a relay race that was close to one block long. (The shoes, which are re-used every year, go up to size 15.) All of the participants also walked the length of the block, north and south.
“That takes a man,” said Laura Patzner, director of the Family Crisis Center in Great Bend. The Crisis Center serves 10 counties and all of the money raised will help women who are survivors of violence to find a safe place and move forward.
With the block closed to traffic, the event also featured food concessions, balloon art, a drawing for prizes and inflatable bounce houses, a slide and an obstacle course for kids, said Jessica Foster, one of the organizers.
Miss Golden Belt Michelle Page and Miss Barton County Bonnie Boultinghouse were on hand to give the men tips on running — or just walking — in heels. Page, a senior at Kansas State University, also spoke prior to the main event.
“I’m excited to be here,” she said. “My platform for two years has been building healthy relationships to end domestic violence.”
Page supports the No More organization (nomore.org), which aims to reduce instances of domestic violence and sexual assault to zero.
Walk a Mile in Her Shoes is a trademark for “a playful opportunity for men to raise awareness in their community about the serious causes, effects and remediations to men’s sexualized violence against women.”
Prizes were awarded to the top individual pledge winner, Don Davis; and the top team pledge winner, the Barton Community College ThrowBacks. The relay team that finished the race first was The Money Men, sponsored by Sunflower Bank.
Many local businesses contributed to the event, and corporate sponsors who gave at least $500 got to have a KSNC TV commercial with their team members in red heels. Foster said there were several such sponsors this year, and two KSNC employees, Mike Hesher and Terry Weathers, did much of the production work and were honored as Men of the Year.
The Family Crisis Center, which is a United Way of Central Kansas organization and accredited by the Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence, provides a 24-hour crisis line, supportive counseling, outreach services, shelter services, support groups and more. Learn more at www.familycrisiscntr.org. The telephone number for the crisis line is 792-1885 or 866-792-1885 for toll-free calls outside of Great Bend.