Emmaus Raises $100,000 Celebrating Merrimack Valley ‘Stars’ at Spring Gala

Travis Brown (left) and Matt Hooper posed with their professional dance partners during the Emmaus "Stepping Out with the Valley Stars" event on April 7. (Photo courtesy of Emmaus/Stephen Van Seters)

Travis Brown (left) and Matt Hooper posed with their professional dance partners during the Emmaus "Stepping Out with the Valley Stars" event on April 7. (Photo courtesy of Emmaus/Stephen Van Seters)

Several Merrimack Valley-area celebrities showed off their dance moves to benefit Haverhill’s Emmaus at the nonprofit’s fourth annual “Stepping Out With the Valley Stars” gala earlier this month.

Six local ‘star’ residents, including Haverhill Country Club Executive Chef Travis Brown and Haverhill spin instructor Matt Hooper, who appeared on “The Biggest Loser,” danced the night away in a competition modeled after ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars.”

Travis Brown performs at the "Stepping Out With the Valley Stars" event April 7. (Photo courtesy of Emmaus/Allegra Boverman)

Dinner and fundraising also took place April 7 at Salisbury’s Blue Ocean Music Hall, with Emmaus raising $100,000 to support its community-based programs and housing services.

Brown took home the 2018 dance title after hitting the floor with his professional partner Angeline Egea.

“It was an absolute pleasure and honor to support Emmaus and all they do for our children and families in the Merrimack Valley,” Brown said. “Words cannot express my gratitude. Dancing is such a passion of mine and the opportunity to work with a professional dancer was a joyous moment in my life and one I will never forget.”

Other community members who danced on behalf of Emmaus were Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School science teacher Emily Cassista, Salvatore DeFranco of Battle Grounds Coffee and Merrimack Valley Credit Union’s Christine Doucette.

Melissa Kilday of the Cambridge Network won a chance to dance by donating during last year’s live auction.

The competition was judged by 2017 winner, physical therapist Karen Holmes, and Northern Essex Community College President Lane Glenn, among others.