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From Combat Boots to Dancing Shoes

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. -- One Air Commando recently traded in his combat boots for dancing shoes in an effort to help children in need.

Staff Sgt. Curtis Krenzke, a 23rd Special Tactics Squadron tactical air control party specialist, recently participated in the "Dancing with Desire" charity event that included dancers from the popular television series "Dancing with the Stars."

"Overall, I had a blast doing this," Krenzke said. "I have a whole new respect for professional dancers and what they must go through to achieve their goals."

The organizers were looking for wounded warriors for the event, said Master Sgt. Carlos Villarreal, the 23rd STS first sergeant. Krenzke was one of the first to come to mind.

The Minnesota native was shot in the leg in Afghanistan and received the Purple Heart, Villarreal said.

"I thought he would be perfect to do a dancing show," Villarreal said. "We are all proud of him. He is one of our biggest guys, (and) it was pretty impressive."

After being asked by his first sergeant to participate in the event, Krenzke submitted an application. He started lessons about a month before the show.

The event raised funds for the charity Children in Crisis. According to the organization's website, their mission is "providing homes and establishing hope for abused, neglected and abandoned children."

The resilient TACP, whose job entails directing all fixed and rotary wing assets to engage enemy targets within close proximity to friendly forces to eliminate any type of threat, enjoyed his evening with the stars.

"I met the cast of 'Dancing with the Stars,' and the women are as beautiful as you see them on TV (and) the guys are tinier than I thought they were," Krenzke said.

After competing in his first-ever dancing event, which sold all 1,500 available seats, the sergeant said he and his wife will continue to take lessons.

"There is a lot of finesse in every little to big thing that you do on the dance floor," Kenzke said. " It is an amazing way to work out and improve my gracefulness, which carries over to all aspects of and for my job."

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