COLUMBIA — Friends and family crowded into the City Council chambers Wednesday night to support the winners of the 2011 Mayor's Health and Fitness Awards.
The Mayor's Council on Physical Fitness and Health, founded in 1999, aims to recognize outstanding leaders who are interested in increasing health and physical fitness in Columbia and Boone County. Award winners are nominated by members of the community in the categories of fitness, mentor, weight loss and youth.
Although Mayor Bob McDavid was unable to attend, Third Ward Councilman Gary Kespohl stepped in to present the awards, sharing stories of success about the winners.
- Laurie Arbuckle lost 90 pounds. Kespohl said her "can-do attitude" has pushed her to recently complete the seven-mile Rock Bridge Revenge run. "My next move is a half-marathon in St. Louis," Arbuckle said. She said it is important to exercise with a friend so they can hold you accountable.
- Shaina Galloway was recognized for her work with Special Olympics. After losing about 50 pounds, she has gained confidence and continues to focus on her health by working with a personal trainer.
- Jim Pastoret, who will turn 88 this winter, has a lifelong passion and determination for fitness. Besides spending time at the Activities and Recreation Center, he also runs, swims, walks and lifts weights.
- Skip Deming discovered pickleball in Arizona and has since brought it to Missouri. The sport is played at the Show-Me State Games and Show-Me State Senior Games. Deming said he hopes the award causes more people to be aware of the sport.
- Caroline Dohack-McCrary, the lifestyle editor at the Columbia Tribune, admits to writing a disproportional number of fitness articles. She said this is because of her family's history of heart disease and a desire to share her love of fitness with the community.
- The Boone County Sheriff's Department was recognized for hosting its own "Biggest Loser" competition from July to October. Each participant put in money at the beginning and added more money for any weight gain. By the end of the competition, the participants lost a total of 182 pounds, and the money was split between the male and female winners.
- Colleen Brown, who has asthma, lost 30 pounds thanks to her belief that exercise is a priority and not a chore.
- Columbia College Wellness Committee also held its own "Biggest Loser" competition. After 12 weeks of education, training activities and workout sessions, the 83 participants lost a group total of more than 650 pounds.
- Paul Krewson, who recently adopted a lifestyle of cardiovascular activity and eating healthy, lost more than 80 pounds in a 2-year period. He also won the ARC challenge in early 2011.
- Billie Washburn went to the doctor for hip pain, but was told she just needed to lose weight. In less than a year, she lost more than 75 pounds. When asked to work overtime, she agrees as long as it didn't cut into her time at the gym.
- Breanna Cornelison has walked more than 800 miles since joining the Walking School Bus program. As a fifth-grader at Fairview Elementary, she walks almost two miles every morning to school and has barely missed a day of the program. She has become a mentor to those around her, as well.
- Columbia Track Club emphasizes both walking and running and has events on Wednesday evenings. Recently, its scholarship fund awarded four local scholarships to graduating seniors. Bill Stolz, who is in charge of the club, said the award speaks to the "fantastic membership."
- Missouri Highsteppers is a leader in youth growth and development. For more than 30 years, more than 3,000 members have experienced the rigors of this drum and dance squad, which emphasizes the importance of values such as character, leadership, education and career.
- Windsor Street Montessori School participated in the GO! St. Louis Read, Right and Run Marathon program in which 18 members from ages 6 to 10 kept a calendar of their progress. Through the 6-month period, participants kept a log of the 26 books they read, the 26 community good deeds they accomplished and the 26 miles they walked or ran. In April, they traveled to St. Louis to finish their last mile and hope to continue the program in upcoming years.
Those who wish to learn more about adopting a healthy lifestyle can go to the Mayor's Council "Commit 2 Fit" Health and Fitness Expo at 1 p.m. Sunday at Stephens Lake Park.