MILWAUKEE -- 3,000 walkers joined Brewers star Ryan Braun Saturday at the AIDS Walk Wisconsin. While the reigning National League MVP drew plenty of attention, another group was praised for its all-star effort.
The cheers from the guys and girls of D.I.X. were loud throughout the opening ceremony. But the cheers were loudest when the south side L.G.B.T. bar was awarded a trophy as the top fundraiser for its contribution of $26,446.
"We're just a tight community, we see what happens with other people around us and we just want to make sure that everyone's taken care of," said team captain Eric Hamilton, "It affects our friends and family amongst each other and even our own patrons that are coming to us, enjoying seeing what we're doing."
The group paraded along the lakefront route with its trophy in tow. The 5k walk attracted plenty of new participants this year.
"AIDS Walk 2012 is up 25 percent from last year and will help us at the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin serves a record number of people living with HIV and AIDS and will also help expand our prevention programs," said Mike Gifford, President of the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin.
Braun was the most noticeable of the AIDS walk rookies. While speaking, her mentioned his mother's involvement in many AIDS walks in the Los Angeles area. Veterans of the 23-year-old event saw plenty of familiar faces too.
"You see them year after year, you don't know their profession, you don't know who they are but you know one thing - they come here every year," said Anton Davis, who said it was his fourth walk, "You see them and it's always good to see they're still doing a good thing."
Coming into Saturday, the walk had generated more than $300,000 in donations. Over the 23 years of the event, supporters have raised more than $11 million. The money goes to the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin, the Milwaukee Health Department, the Sheboygan County AIDS Task Force and several other groups.