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Featured Story

2017 Des Moines’ most likeable people

12/6/2017

A social networking contest and charity event

For the second year in a row, we asked our readers who they thought were the most “likeable.” More than a popularity contest, the finalists were also asked to pick a charity and attend an event in their honor. 

The nominations on our “Des Moines’ Most Likeable People” Facebook page were vast and consisted of police officers, public figures and everyday amiable people. Nearly 70 central Iowans were nominated, and voting consisted of Facebook “likes.” We tallied the likes and reached out to those with the most to ask if they would
name a charity and attend our event. Most were game and chose to participate.

Here they are, our 14 finalists. Read a little more about them and the charities they’re representing, and then attend our event to vote and see who claims the title of “Des Moines’ Most Likeable.” There will be opportunities to donate to each charity, but the male and female participants who receive the most votes will win the ultimate prize of a
$750 check for their chosen charity.

Sonya Heitshusen

1. Occupation?

Anchor/Reporter at WHO-TV

Ames Chamber

2. City where you live?

Des Moines

3. Hometown?

Homestead

4. How do you like to spend your free time?

I spend a good portion of my free time working out, preferably outdoors, while training for endurance races. I love to travel and enjoy spending time with my significant other, my family — which includes my two dogs — and friends.

5. Share one thing about yourself that most people would be surprised to learn.

I have a phobia of bridges over water. This is the result of the floods of 1993. I got stuck in traffic, while in the television station’s live van, on a bridge over the Des Moines River. The water was so high it nearly topped the bridge.

6. Who do you admire most as a person?

My mother — she’s the strongest, most courageous person I know.

7. If you could pick any super power, what would you pick, and why?

I’d like to be able to fly. I think it would be fun, and I’d save a lot of money on airfare.

8. What do you enjoy most about Iowa winters?

I can do without the bitter cold, but I like a good snowstorm. My perfect, winter day in Iowa would include
cross-country skiing or snowshoeing, followed by a few hours in a hot tub or in front of a roaring fire.

9. What’s the best Christmas present you ever got?

This is a hard one, because I’ve received some great Christmas gifts. When it comes to material things, I distinctly remember getting a 10-speed bike when I was about 12 years old. I was also really excited to receive my first stereo and Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumors” album. Now that I’m older, I really appreciate time with the people I love. I really don’t need more “stuff.”

10. What charity have you chosen and why?

My charity of choice is AHeinz57 Pet Rescue and Transport. I chose this charity because I love animals, dogs in particular. I’ve watched this small rescue in DeSoto, Iowa, grow from a one-woman, one-vanoperation, to a nationally recognized rescue. The founder, Amy Heinz, is an angel, committed to saving animals, comforting them and finding them good homes. Last year, the organization found homes for more than 2,000 animals. AHeinz57 recently embarked on a $1.8 million capital campaign to build a bigger, better facility to accommodate more
animals and provide them with much needed medical care. Please help me in supporting AHeinz57 Pet Rescue and
Transport.

Jayme Robbins

1. Occupation?

Director of Marketing and Communications for Rx-Precision

2. City where you live?

Waukee

3. Hometown?

Clear Lake

4. How do you like to spend your free time?

Participating in and watching sports. I am constantly on the go, so anything supporting local is a big passion of mine. Whether it’s sports, concerts, or being completely spontaneous, I will try anything once! I am very adventurous and sometimes think my “fear” light will go off at some point, right?

5. Share one thing about yourself that most people would be surprised to learn.

I was on “Fear Factor Live” and won!

6. Who do you admire most as a person?

My mom and my stepdad. They are one. They are the most responsible, non-judgmental, helpful, caring, beautiful people I have ever met. I have been seriously blessed to have them in my life. They teach me daily to be kind,
humble and courageous in everything I do. There have been a lot of people who have helped mold me into the person I am today — but thanks to these two — I would like to think I picked up some amazing qualities.

7. If you could pick any super power, what would you pick, and why?

To travel to and from places as soon as possible! Snap of my fingers, and I’m there on a beach….with the sun shining bright…and a margarita in hand!

8. What do you enjoy most about Iowa winters?

I will have to say I am not a loving person of the full winter season. However, my birthday is in December. I would have to say the very first snowfall that it isn’t freezing cold but where there are huge flakes falling ever so slightly. I
always feel there is a calmness to it. No matter what I am doing or if I am upset or distracted at the moment, this will always calm me and make me feel grateful for everything going on in my life.

9. What’s the best Christmas present you ever got?

I would have to say when my uncle gave me a salt block (like for deer). My love for salt started back at a young age, but that as a joke was priceless.

10. Which charity have you chosen, and why?

Animal Lifeline of Iowa because my coworkers and I rescued a kitten outside work at Des Moines Plastic Surgery in June 2016 that somehow got into some trouble at 5 weeks old, resulting her to have her back leg and tail  amputated. She is completely oblivious to the fact she ever had four legs and a tail and is crazier than ever! I would love to donate to a charity that would be able to help grant money to families that can’t pay for animal care or animals that don’t have homes yet but would still be able to receive the care they need. Without News Channel 8 and Ashworth Animal Hospital’s help, I’m not sure Rezy would have been able to receive the care she needed.

Laura Belin

1. Occupation?

Sometimes I call myself a “fulltime mom and freelance activist.” I spend a lot of time writing about Iowa politics at
my blog, Bleeding Heartland. I am also an active volunteer for several non-profit organizations.

2. City where you live?

WindsorHeights

3. Hometown?

Windsor Heights (I grew up here, moved away after graduating from high school in 1987, and moved back in 2002 when my husband and I were ready to start a family.)

4. How do you like to spend your free time?

Going for walks or bike rides, checking out Iowa wildflowers.

5. Share one thing about yourself that most people would be surprised to learn.

Although I’ve been supporting parents as a volunteer for a long time now, I knew almost nothing about babies or toddlers before my older son was born. I had never even changed a diaper.

6. Who do you admire most as a person?

Anna Politkovskaya was an award-winning Russian journalist who risked her life to cover stories no one else was reporting. She knew her work might get her killed, and it did.

7. If you could pick any super power, what would you pick, and why?

Not needing to sleep, because there is never enough time to write all the Iowa politics stories I want to cover.

8. What do you enjoy most aboutIowa winters?

Sledding!

9. What’s the best Christmas present you ever got?

My family celebrates Chanukah. I can’t choose just one Chanukah present. Some Russian or Soviet items that were gifts from an older brother are special to me.

10. What charity have you chosen and why?

I picked two charities. 1000 Friends of Iowa advocates for land use practices and public policies that revitalize our communities while protecting Iowa’s farmland and natural areas, which are both priceless nonrenewable resources. As a board member for 15 years, I’ve been continually inspired by the projects 1000 Friends of Iowa recognizes with its annual Best Development Awards. I’ve been an accredited leader for Attachment Parenting International since 2006, devoting a personally significant amount of time to supporting parents and children of all ages. We have in-person meetings and an active discussion group on Facebook (API of Central Iowa). I’m committed to API’s mission because forming and maintaining a strong bond with a loving caregiver is not just good for babies. It can make older children and even adults more resilient. Conversely, a failure to form a secure attachment during the early months and years can be associated with a lot of self-destructive or violent behavior later in life, rooted in a lack of empathy.

Bonnie Lucas

1. Occupation?

Radio personality – co-host of Van & Bonnie in the Morning on WHO Radio

2. City where you live?

I live on an acreage outside of Monroe on the farm where I grew up.

3. Hometown?

Right across the road from where I am now.

4. How do you like to spend your free time?

Working on my 5-acre yard and spending time with grandkids.

5. Share one thing about yourself that most people would be surprised to learn.

I hate public speaking. On the radio, it’s just Van, me and a couple of microphones…I don’t see any of you!

6. Who do you admire most as a person?

My husband, Gene. He has Systemic Scleroderma, an autoimmune disease that attacks his skin and internal organs. He has had two different kinds of cancer in one year, and yet, when people ask how he’s doing…he always answers
“really good!”

7. If you could pick any super power, what would you pick, and why?

The ability to teleport. I love to see the world, but I hate the trip there and back on the plane.

8. What do you enjoy most about Iowa winters?

My sauna and the fireplace!

9. What’s the best Christmas present you ever got?

That’s a really hard question because I am a very practical person. My husband and I usually think of something we would really like for the house or the yard and buy that and then say it’s our Christmas present. I was very moved by the grandmother’s ring and matching necklace I received from my kids and grandkids.

10. What charity have you chosen and why?

I have chosen the Heartland Chapter Scleroderma Foundation. They are a support group for people in Iowa who have Scleroderma. Scleroderma is a very rare disease, so it’s very hard to find someone to talk to about your condition and what others are experiencing. Unfortunately, since there are so many conditions associated with Scleroderma, no two people have the exact same issues. This has made it very hard to even have clinical studies
to try to find a cure. Doctors know very little about it, so usually the people with the disease can tell you a lot more than you can get from the doctor…including natural things that can help with the symptoms, foods that can  exacerbate the problems, etc. Since it is so rare, most people have never heard about the disease, so fundraising to find a cure is hard.

Micole Van Walbeek

1. Occupation?

Realtor at Iowa Realty

2. City where you live?

Des Moines 

3. Hometown?

Des Moines

4. How do you like to spend your free time?

I spend most of my free time with my 5-year-old daughter, Ava. We love going out for sushi, hanging out with
friends, and traveling to new places.

5. Share one thing about yourself that most people would be surprised to learn.

I never crave pizza. I hardly ever eat it. It’s just not my favorite food.

6. Who do you admire most as a person?

My grandma. She is fearless! She just turned 80 and doesn’t let anything stop her. She’s my favorite cowgirl. She still rides her mules, wears cowgirl boots, and knows how to have a fun time!

7. If you could pick any super power, what would you pick and why?

The ability to get my daughter dressed, fed and out the door in the morning without a major meltdown. Getting a 5-year-old off to school can be hard sometimes! This super power also applies for bedtime.

8. What do you enjoy most about Iowa winters?

I love how my neighborhood looks after a fresh coat of snow. All the mature trees covered in snow and smoke coming from the chimneys. It’s a magical-looking place to live!

9. What’s the best Christmas present you ever got?

My mom always gives socks for Christmas, and, to be honest, it’s the most practical gift ever! I wear them all year long. Thanks, Mom!

10. Which charity have you chosen, and why?

My charity is Children’s Hope Chest. Money is raised to help orphan children in Uganda by providing them a care point to go to for water, food, school and support. I currently sponsor two girls in Uganda through the program. In August 2015, I went to Uganda with the program and met one of the girls I sponsored. It was truly amazing to actually see that the money I donate every month goes to bettering the lives of children. The money is used for their school tuition, meals, basic health care and providing them with tools to rise above poverty. There are still more children that need sponsored, and any money raised will go towards helping these children and improving their care points.

Maggie White

1. Occupation?

Staff Attorney at EMC Insurance Companies

2. City where you live?

Des Moines

3. Hometown?

I was born in Hartford, Connecticut, but moved to Leawood, Kansas (a suburb of Kansas City), when I was 8.

4. How do you like to spend your free time?

Running, trying new Des Moines restaurants, attempting to conquer the New York Times Sunday crossword puzzle, and spending time with my boyfriend and our new puppy.

5. Share one thing about yourself that most people would be surprised to learn.

I was homeschooled until I went to college.

6. Who do you admire most as a person?

Arabella Mansfield. She became the first female lawyer in the United States in 1869 (and was from Iowa!). It’s still challenging to be a woman in the legal profession, but we’ve come a long way in the last 150 years and have Arabella to thank for paving the way.

7. If you could pick any super power, what would you pick and why?

The “time out” that Zack Morris uses on “Saved by the Bell” when he needs a minute to think about something or wants to comment on a situation. In tense or worrisome moments, I would love to be able to take a minute to gather my thoughts before declaring “time in” and resuming real life.

8. What do you enjoy most about Iowa winters?

I love living somewhere where we get to experience all four seasons. This winter I’m especially excited for our puppy to enjoy his first snow!

9. What’s the best Christmas present you ever got?

This year my dad is retiring 10 days before Christmas! I’m thrilled that he will get to spend his time doing the things he loves and focusing on his health.

10. Which charity have you chosen, and why?

Joppa Outreach, Inc. I first heard about this incredible organization at a Drake alumni luncheon and was blown away by their commitment to alleviating homelessness in Des Moines. Their mission is to help homeless people survive, find housing, and rebuild their lives. One of their current projects is creating a transitional housing village where residents can live for up to 24 months while finding a more permanent place to live. I helped build tiny houses for this village during Drake’s Let’s DU Good Week this year, and it was awesome to see the houses come together in such a short time.

Stew Bevis

1. Occupation?

I am a salesperson at Walsh Door & Security in Des Moines, where I sell commercial doors, frames, hardware, auto door operators, security, access control and much more.

2. City where you live?

I live in West Des Moines in the Fox Valley Development; however, we are in the Norwalk School District.

3. Hometown?

Ankeny is my hometown. I’m a graduate in 1993 and lived there from 1985-2003. Go Hawks and Jaguars!

4. How do you like to spend your free time?

I love spending time with my family, my beautiful wife, Meredith, and two daughters, Hattie (5) and Emmie (1). I enjoy traveling and hanging with friends as much as I can. I enjoy staying active and going to as many fun places in the Des Moines area whether it’s a new place or a place that we enjoy regularly. I enjoy working out at Prairie Life Fitness, running, biking, lifting weights, playing softball and volleyball. I love watching sports and my favorite teams are the Vikings, Huskers, Twins and Wild!

5. Share one thing about yourself that most people would be surprised to learn.

I am an Ironman! I finished Ironman Wisconsin in Madison in 2009 with my brother, Jeff. I also did a half Ironman in Lawrence, Kansas, that same year in June and finished with my brother and my sister, Angie. Another thing that most people wouldn’t guess about me is that I was a nerd all through school. I didn’t play any sports after moving to Iowa after the fourth grade. I didn’t date, was very shy, and now I’m a much different person.

6. Who do you admire most as a person?

I admire my wife more than anyone else on the planet. She is such an amazing wife, mother, daughter, granddaughter, friend and business woman. I can’t say enough about her for this interview, as I could go on and on about my admiration for her.

7. If you could pick any super power, what would you pick, and why?

If I could pick a super power, I’d probably say I’d like to fly like Superman. I just think that would be so cool to see the world from the air and get from place to place faster than walking, running or biking.

8. What do you enjoy most about Iowa winters?

I really enjoy snow as I lived in Cloquet, Minnesota, when I was a child, which is near Duluth, so the winter doesn’t bother me too much. I enjoy sledding and now with having a 5-year-old and a 1-year-old, it will be fun sledding with them this winter since last year we hardly had any snow. I was kind of disappointed by the lack of snow last year and hope we have more of the white stuff this year. I also love competing in the annual Snowball Softball Tournament every year in January.

9. What’s the best Christmas present you ever got?

The best Christmas present at the time I ever got was the video game Super Mario Brothers II for the original Nintendo. I got it when I was 10, I believe, and I just cried as I was so happy. It was such a hot item that year and was sold out everywhere. My family and I remember that moment I opened the gift like it was yesterday and my reaction was priceless.

10. What charity have you chosen and why?

I have chosen the Norwalk Student Education Foundation as my charity. The reason I chose this foundation is because my 5-year-old is in kindergarten at Norwalk Schools, and my 1-year-old will be in Norwalk Schools in a few short years as we plan on staying in this school district. I can’t say enough about not only hearing about the Norwalk School District and how great it was, but now that I have children in the district, I see how and why people talk so highly of the Norwalk School District. My wife is currently a new member of the foundation, and recently we attended their annual banquet, which had a live auction and silent auction and all the money raised went toward the schools. I want to make a difference for my children’s education and will be active with the school district, and this is why I chose this charity.

Mike Moody

1. Occupation?

Police officer for the City of Des Moines

2. City where you live?

Des Moines

3. Hometown?

Des Moines

4. How do you like to spend your free time?

Riding my motorcycle or hanging with my grandson (when I have free time).

5. Share one thing about yourself that most people would be surprised to learn?

I sing and play guitar in a band.

6. Who do you admire most as a person?

That’s easy… my mom. Strongest lady I know.

7. If you could pick any super power, what would you pick, and why?

To fly. I think I would just love the freedom of it.

8. What do you enjoy most about Iowa winters?

Vacationing in Cozumel and hanging out in my hot tub.

9. What’s the best Christmas present you ever got?

My grandson, although he came a little early (Dec. 13), he’s the best present ever.

10. What charity have you chosen and why?

I’ve chosen Youth Emergency Services and Shelter because in my line of work, I see the need for this amazing place.

Marty Lester

1. Occupation?

Executive Director – Mentor Iowa

2. City where you live?

Altoona

3. Hometown?

Slater

4. How do you like to spend your free time?

I enjoy working out, watching sports, collecting memorabilia and hanging out with my family and friends.

5. Share one thing about yourself that most people would be surprised to learn.

I do magic shows for children second grade and younger for donations to Mentor Iowa. I am known as “The Great Martini.”

6. Who do you admire most as a person?

I admire anyone who wants to give back to the community. Whether it is by volunteering, funding or helping with special events, our communities need great members to step up and help others. Specifically, seeing the impact a mentor can bring to the life of a child is amazing. The mentors involved with Mentor Iowa are wonderful and help build the self-confidence of the children they work with. As a result, when their mentees grow up, they will be responsible and caring adults making a positive impact in their communities.

7. If you could pick any super power, what would you pick, and why?

I think precognition would be pretty cool. There are a lot of events in our history that have happened that I wish we could undo. With this power, I could prevent bad things happening in the world.

8. What do you enjoy most about Iowa winters?

I am a huge fan of high school wrestling. When I think of winter, I know that wrestling season is here.

9. What’s the best Christmas present you ever got?

Every homemade gift made by my kids (Dawson and Kinsey) always mean the most to me. The gifts they took the time to make with care and love always bring joy to me.

10. Which charity have you chosen, and why?

Mentor Iowa. I have been involved with Mentor Iowa for more than 14 years, and it is an awesome feeling to see our match pairs in action. It is an amazing feeling to see the impact a positive adult mentor can bring to the life of a child. Mentor Iowa has more than 30 children on their waiting list who definitely could use a mentor in their lives. Besides Mentor Iowa receiving funds, I hope by choosing this great program our community members will consider being a mentor for the children on the waiting list.

Mark Egly

1. Occupation?

Golf professional, teacher of golf, baseball, other sports and life.

2. City where you live?

Johnston

3. Hometown?

Jackson, Michigan

4. How do you like to spend your free time?

With my family, watching my athletes compete and writing instructional and educational materials.

5. Share one thing about yourself that most people would be surprised to learn.

That an athlete who earned his degree from Michigan State would move to Iowa and become close friends with the Iowa Hawkeyes winningest basketball coach ever, Dr. Tom Davis. The friendship with Dr. Tom went from being my golf partner and my golf student, to Tom becoming my best mentor ever, and a father figure to me, as well as an incredible grandfather figure to my children!

6. Who do you admire most as a person?

Both my parents equally, Darrel and Sally Egly! My father came from the very poorest part of our state, Diagonal, Iowa. He lost his father at the age of 2 and fought through life with great help from his mother and her family, the Lesans. My father entered the Navy, then on to Iowa State, where he graduated as an electric engineer with three children already. He worked alongside my mother to raise seven children, each child with their own successes. After ISU, we first moved to Jackson, Michigan, where we lived in the ghetto of Jackson, living on top of Hammond’s Hardware Store. With both their great efforts, they led us all to the great lives we each have today! My mother is still alive, and still a great inspiration to each of us!

7. If you could pick any super power, what would you pick and why?

That would be the super power of reading minds. Why? To be able to assist and teach better, better understand what others really have going on in their lives and be able to understand their needs and therefore better assist them.

8. What do you enjoy most about Iowa winters?

Time at home relaxing with my family after 15-hour workdays in the summer that wear me down a just a little.

9. What’s the best Christmas present you ever got?

An electric train at a very young age.

10. Which charity have you chosen, and why?

Iowa PGA Foundation (Swings in Schools and Youth Programs) Why? Because my career path in life has been based on supplying all the youth in our community and state the opportunity to find healthy activities, options and opportunities in their lives, no matter what their home situation or financial status in life is. This foundation and the association shares and supports my beliefs and hopes for our youth!

Michael Prichard

1. Occupation?

President, Midwest Mattress

2. City where you live?

Ankeny

3. Hometown?

Sergeant Bluff

4. How do you like to spend your free time?

I enjoy smoking BBQ, playing pinball, and I manage a football team in my free time.

5. Share one thing about yourself that most people would be surprised to learn.

The only fear I have is people chewing loudly, and snakes.

6. Who do you admire most as a person?

The person I admire most is my grandfather — Duke Prichard. A hard-working farmer turned entrepreneur with unmatched storytelling ability.

7. If you could pick any super power, what would you pick and why?

Wow! That’s a great question. Tough one. What does one gauge his response on? Physical prowess? Keen detection skills? The ability to banter well with super villains?

8. What do you enjoy most about Iowa winters?

The thing I enjoy most about Iowa winters is taking my kids sledding, although we haven’t had enough snow in recent years.

9. What’s the best Christmas present you ever got?

UGG slippers.

10. Which charity have you chosen, and why?

Miracle Travel Works. Miracle Travel Works helps families with seriously ill or injured children travel as they undergo urgent medical treatments. They provide financial assistance for travel expenses for the children and their families. No lines or long forms to fill out. 100 percent of the donations goes to the families of children in need. Visit www.miracletravelworks.org for more details.

Jimmy Wright

1. Occupation?

Afternoon drive DJ on Star 102.5 and music director for Star 102.5 and Hits 99.9.

2. City where you live?

Des Moines

3. Hometown?

Des Moines

4. How do you like to spend your free time?

Attend sporting events, listen to live music and wineries.

5. Share one thing about yourself that most people would be surprised to learn.

I’ve been at one radio station for 27 years.

6. Who do you admire most as a person?

My parents. They taught me the value of hard work.

7. If you could pick any super power, what would you pick and why?

Invisible. To hear what people have to say after you’ve touched their lives.

8. What do you enjoy most about Iowa winters?

Staying indoors with the fireplace and a glass of chardonnay.

9. What’s the best Christmas present you ever got?

Atari.

10. Which charity have you chosen, and why?

John Stoddard Cancer Center. I’ve had close people in my life die of cancer. And the staff does a great job!

Robert Wade

1. Occupation?

Pediatric dentist.

2. City where you live?

West Des Moines.

3. Hometown?

I was born and raised in Council Bluffs.

4. How do you like to spend your free time?

I like to spend my free time with my wife, either working together on a project or traveling.

5. Share one thing about yourself that most people would be surprised to learn.

I once wrote an advice column.

6. Who do you admire most as a person?

I most admire Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He remained peaceful even in the face of terrible adversity. He relied on God, not violence, to make change happen.

7. If you could pick any super power, what would you pick and why?

I would like the power to shrink negative thoughts and feelings and supersize positive ones.

8. What do you enjoy most about Iowa winters?

I enjoy Iowa winters because they give me a chance to sit next to a warm fire with my dogs and my family and have a hot cup of coffee.

9. What’s the best Christmas present you ever got?

My best Christmas present was my daughter who came to us on Christmas Eve!

10. Which charity have you chosen, and why?

My charity is Wildwood Hills Ranch where they give healing and hope for youth at risk.

Tim Boesen

1. Occupation?

I am the fourth generation to work at my family’s business, Boesen the Florist. I started when I was 8 years old cleaning bathrooms and stripping thorns off of roses, and am now the project manager.

2. City where you live?

I was born and raised in wonderful Des Moines

3. Hometown?

I’ve always lived in Des Moines, but specifically in Beaverdale.

4. How do you like to spend your free time?

What free time? Just kidding! Being a part of a family business, free days are very hard to come by. When they do happen though, I enjoy the company of my wife, Taylor, daughter Scarlett, and dog Charlie. I also enjoy snowboarding in Colorado, wakeboarding in Clear Lake, and sipping a cocktail on the beach in Tamarindo.

5. Share one thing about yourself that most people would be surprised to learn.

I broke my ankle jumping out of a golf cart on my one-year anniversary to my wife. I was not golfing.

6. Who do you admire most as a person?

I greatly admire my wife Taylor. On top of being a very successful business owner, she is the most amazing mother to our beautiful 8-month-old daughter, Scarlett.

7. If you could pick any super power, what would you pick and why?

I would choose super speed like The Flash, because there aren’t enough hours in the day, and I could get so much more accomplished.

8. What do you enjoy most about Iowa winters?

Getting out of school as a kid to help out at Boesen the Florist on Valentine’s Day was always a bright spot each winter. I also enjoy escaping Iowa winters and heading to a warmer climate like Florida.

9. What’s the best Christmas present you ever got?

The best Christmas present I ever received was that Taylor said yes! I proposed to my wife on Christmas Day 2013, and while some may think that proposing was the best gift I’ve ever given, I’d argue that her acceptance of my proposal was a pretty sweet gift in return.

10. Which charity have you chosen, and why?

All the money raised by voting for me will benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. When our beautiful daughter Scarlett was 2 weeks old, she was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis. Her diagnosis turned an otherwise magical time for me and my wife into a scary time wondering what life would be like for our first child, and how much time we’d have with her. Instead of dwelling on the fact that she has this disease, though, Taylor and I have decided to embrace it by donating our time, energy, and talent to charitable events benefitting research for Cystic Fibrosis. Scarlett is growing and thriving regardless of the obstacles the disease poses, and we won’t stop until a cure is found. ♦

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