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story.lead_photo.caption John Martin, left, a student at Westminster College, teaches 2-year-old Harper Mulcahey how to draw a hand chicken during Tuesday's 100 Man Lunch. "She's an artist," he said. Photo by Helen Wilbers / Fulton Sun.

It didn't take long for a dance-off to break out.

"This kid was flossing earlier," Morgan Corder, who works for U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt's office said. "The moves, he's got 'em."

Local men demonstrated positive male role model behavior through coloring, eating cake and — of course — dancing at Tuesday's 100 Man Lunch. The meal is an annual tradition at the Fulton Head Start.

"Studies have shown that kids with good male role models are less likely to go to to prison and more likely to succeed in high school and get their diplomas," Head Start Site Administrator Tawnya Pace said.

That's especially important in low income brackets, where children face more obstacles to succeeding in life, said Kellie Pontius of Central Missouri Community Action.

"These children need as many positive role models in their lives as possible," she said.

On Tuesday, they had them. Everyone from firefighters to policemen, college students to older gentlemen showed up to spend time with the children.

"I love being around kids," said John Martin, a student at Westminster College. "With the way I grew up, I didn't have positive male influences in my family. I want to show them we're out there."

He attended the lunch last year, and brought many of his Sigma Alpha Epsilon brothers along this year.

"Some of us are education majors," fellow SAE member Kaleb Kracman pointed out. "Any time an opportunity comes to sit with kids in the community I may end up teaching, that's a good thing."

The children reacted with excitement when first responders' vehicles arrived, sirens blaring.

"I love kiddos," Fulton Police Department officer Lucas Bell said. "If we don't initiate (a good relationship) early in their lives, kids tend to be more afraid of police. I want them to know we're here to help. We're friendly and goofy."

At times, it was hard to tell who was having more fun — the children or the grownups.

"It's so joyful," Corder said. "It really puts a smile on your face."

Each year, Head Start sets a goal of bringing in 100 men for the luncheon. Half an hour into the event, Pontius said it looked like that goal might be reached.

"I think it's great," she added.

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