Volunteer line dance instructor surprised with $319 at a group class

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - WHNT NEWS 19 is paying it forward to a woman that has found a way to combine her love for teaching and dancing. As a volunteer line dance instructor at the Huntsville-Madison County Senior Center, Judy Graf has touched the lives of a lot of people.

One of those people emailed us asking that Graf be recognized for her volunteer efforts at the center, her church and with the Civitan Club. In the nomination from Faye Bridwell, she writes:

"Judy Graf is a retired school teacher. She gives a lot to other people and we would love for her to be recognized for her services."

WHNT NEWS 19 showed up at a dance class one morning. Graf was so into her lesson, she didn't even notice us at first. After a quick greeting, we presented her with a gift - $319.

After a round of applause and a gracious reception, we let Graf get back to it. She's been teaching line dancing for about 16 years. With this group, it's more than just fancy footwork, these women are tight.

"We're so close and we're social and we enjoy being with each other and the dancing is a plus," explains Graf.

That bond was especially evident to Graf during a recent trial. It was hard for her to hold back the emotion.

"I did just have surgery, breast surgery, and all of these ladies prayed for me," says a tearful Graf. "It just touched my heart and it just brought all of that back. It really did because they're like family. They're not just other dancers, they really are like family."

It was clear how close they are. Many of the women in the class came up to the WHNT NEWS 19 crew while we were doing the story to tell us how glad they were to see Judy Graf receive a Pay it Forward.