By RENEE FITE
Men from all walks of life stepped out of their comfort zones Saturday, donning high heels to “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes.”
About 100 joined Help-In-Crisis’ third annual event to support the prevention of violence against women, which began with registration at Norris Park. Proceeds are donated to the local non-profit to help defray expenses.
An intricate red and white “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” quilt was on display to be auctioned , one of many silent auction items included Saturday. Children could choose from a number of activities throughout the park.
Dr. John Fell, physician with Tahlequah City Hospital, said he’s proud to participate, despite the pain he suffered from tottering around in the ladies’ shoes.
“It’s important for our community to be aware violence exists,” Fell said. “It takes community awareness to help change our attitude as a society, and these kind of events can do that. This little sacrifice I’m making is worth it, because these shoes really hurt.”
Burly men and young men – some in shorts that matched their shoes – stood in their high heels of many colors, chatting as they waited for the mile-long walk to begin. Children got their faces painted, painted rocks and played in the sand. TCH staffers were wrapping some men’s ankles before the walk, to prevent injuries.
Jana Green, manager of HIC’s Encore Resale store, organized new field events for the heel-shod men, including a short dash, a three-legged race and an egg relay.
“We’d heard the men would like to compete against each other,” Green said. “This seems like a fun way to get a little extra funds. And I love how some guys decorate their own shoes.”
Volunteer Shronn Schuelke loves watching the men in heels.
“I see a trend in men showcasing their socks, too,” said Schuelke. “It’s kinda cute. It seems like it changes the way they walk. I heard one guy say, ‘Don’t wear heels, they’re hard to walk in.’ This event is a great way to bring awareness to a whole new level, more tangible because they literally are walking in her shoes.”
Physical therapist Patrick Lewis learned from last year’s event how to be better prepared.
“It’s a great event and a way to show community support, and I get to wear high heels,” Lewis said. “Last year, I was a little sore in the calves after the walk, but a little stretching took the soreness out.”
Volunteer Coordinator Liz Guthrie enjoys bringing the community together for a common cause, which is to eliminate violence against women.
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