IU police chief dancing to raise money for Stone Belt Arc
August 7, 2014
As a longtime police officer, IU Police Chief Laury Flint has a daily uniform, but it doesn’t include heels. In fact, it doesn’t include women’s shoes at all.
“I’ve been wearing men's shoes for 30-plus years. It’s a different way to walk. They’re big and clunky,” she said. “Plus, I have two left feet. I just don’t have that natural rhythm I guess that people tend to have.”
Six celebrities, teamed with dance instructors from the Arthur Murray Dance Center, compete to raise the most money for their charity of choice at 8 p.m. Aug. 9 at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater. Flint is raising money for Stone Belt Arc, which provides services and support for people with developmental disabilities.
During a recent rehearsal with dance partner Ryan Cloud, it was clear that while Flint may be at ease wearing a badge, twirling and turning across a dance floor is another story.
“That’s OK, keep dancing,” Cloud told her after a missed step. “You’re doing great.”
Since May, Flint has been working on learning the foxtrot and swing -- both a requirement of the event -- and a third dance of the participants’ choice. Flint and Cloud will perform a waltz.
In addition to coordinating their dance moves, the duo’s also been working hard on creating the perfect costumes, another first for the self-proclaimed tomboy who is typically a “jeans and T-shirt kind of girl.”
“Everything has to sparkle when you’re on stage,” she said of the long flowing dress and skirts she’ll don during the big night.
Although Flint’s recent practice included a few stops and starts and a number of “oops,” it was also full of laughs. In fact, a smile never left Flint’s face as she tried to perfect the dances she’ll be performing in front of hundreds of people.
Her positive attitude, and her inspiration for taking part in the eighth annual Dancing With the Celebrities, is inspired by Cheryl Thompson, a Stone Belt client who has worked at the IU Police Department since 2012.
“She is just a ray of sunshine,” Flint said. “She is just happy all the time: happy to have a job, happy with life in general, just a wonderful lady. I figured (Stone Belt employees) are putting themselves out there every day, so I can make this little contribution.”
Her efforts, and positive attitude, are not lost on the Stone Belt staff.
“I absolutely understand that being in a ball gown is not a high comfort level for Laury, and I absolutely appreciate that,” said Lori Garraghty, director of development at Stone Belt. “But her willingness to go out there and have fun makes all the difference.”
Thompson is excited to cheer on her friend during Flint's big night and to be a part of two organizations she called “the sunshine of my life!”
As the competition approaches, Flint said she and her partner are definitely “in it to win it.”
But regardless of who raises the most money, Flint said she is excited to be a part of something that not only financially supports local charities but encourages others to give back to the community.
“There’s an awful lot of good organizations out there,” she said. “Although money is very important for these organizations, not everybody can contribute that way. Donating your time is huge.”
Donations for Dancing With the Celebrities can be made online.