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Marines participate in Kids on the Move event

30 Jul 2009 | Pamela Jackson

The fifth annual Kids on the Move event sponsored by the Dougherty County Health Department’s Adolescent Health and Youth Development Center took place Friday with a bit of extra motivation.

More than 25 Marines, both officers and enlisted, from Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, Ga., and Detachment 2, Supply Company, 4th Supply Battalion, 4th Marine Logistics Group, donned their green on green physical training gear and took their morning PT run to Albany State University to exercise with kids.

“This was a tremendous opportunity to work with the kids from the local community.  I had the privilege of running with a precocious four-year-old named Andrea who ran over a mile and a half with me.  I hope I was able to motivate her as much as she motivated me.  She was even gracious enough to share her water with me,” said Lt. Col. Don Finn, director, Operations and Training Division, MCLB Albany.

ASU’s Hampton Smith Sports Complex Track Field was the site of the annual event designed to engage youth in a more healthy and active lifestyle. 

Sgt. Shayla S. Ortiz, training chief, Inspector-Instructor, Detachment 2, said, “I had a great time running with the kids. The ultimate gift is seeing a child’s face light up, simply because you motivated them.”

The other Marines who attended the event said they had a great time and hope to be able to come back next year. 

Official printed material at the event stated, “Our country is experiencing an epidemic of obesity, and unfortunately, the problem of obesity is not limited to adults.  Childhood obesity is a significant public health concern in Georgia, said Southwest Health District Director, Dr. Jacqueline Grant.  One of the major factors behind childhood obesity is the lack of physical activity.”

Capt. Charles R. Johnston, company commander, Headquarters and Support Company, MCLB Albany, Ga., said, “The Kids on the Move 5K and 1 mile fun run was a tremendous opportunity for the Marines at MCLB to get out and really interact with the community on a broader spectrum.  I had a great time and based on the smiles of both the children and the Marines. I know I wasn’t the only one who enjoyed the event.”

The 5K run-walk and one mile fun run was jointly sponsored by the Dougherty County Health Department, Albany Recreation and Parks Department, Youth Becoming Healthy Project, Network of Trust, World Vision and others. 

“The fact that we were able to encourage exercise while interacting with some great kids made the event just that much better,” Johnston added.

For one Marine, it was a special experience because she was able to escort four- year-old twin girls around the track. 

“I thought the youth event was a fun experience because we got to run with kids and show them they can run and get into shape at a young age,” said Pfc. Jessica L. Hamrick, personnel clerk, Installation Personnel Administration Center, MCLB Albany.

Another Marine who volunteered to support the event was Staff Sgt. Yalunda S. Jefferson, telephone technician/network specialist, Communications and Information Systems Division, MCLB Albany.

 “The day was very rewarding.  It was a lot of fun meeting the kids and getting a chance to talk with them.  Some of them were really good athletes and I found myself keeping up with them instead of the other way around,” she said.

“Kids on the Move began in 2005 as a way to engage youngsters in a more active and healthy lifestyle,” said Debra Willingham, health educator, Dougherty County Health Department. “More than 115 kids participated in this year’s event and we really appreciate the Marines coming out and hope to have them again next year.”

Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany