Winter warriors wow, win awards

By John Bell


More than a dozen employees of the Defense Logistics Agency received trophies and recognition from DLA’s senior military leaders for meeting their fitness goals this past winter, in an April 12 ceremony at the McNamara Headquarters Complex, Fort Belvoir, Virginia.

The director of DLA praised the participants in the 2017 Winter Warrior Project fitness challenge. “This is a great program,” said Air Force Lt. Gen. Andy Busch, a regular user of the HQC Fitness Center. He also thanked the Fitness Center staff, who coached the teams and managed the 9-week event, which begins in early January each year.

Busch was pleased to note an increase in participation from 2016. “We had more people in this fitness challenge this year than last year. It’s all about trying to increase utilization of the Fitness Center.”

Indeed, 175 people completed the event this year, compared with 155 last year. Overall, participants achieved a 63-percent reduction of their total body fat, said Beverly Hicks, morale, welfare and recreation program manager for DLA Installation Support, who emceed the event.

The winning teams were those who achieved the most of their fitness goals. In first place was Ladies Dropping Some Weight 2.0, an all-DLA team comprising Rowena Estrada, Ieshia Clark, Anita Elum-Mason, Ahawana Williams and Christina Darensbourg, with Demitrios Danis as the coach.  Each team member received a trophy and a $50 Wegman’s gift card.

Receiving trophies for second place were the members of “Fit 5”: DLA’s Hadiza Abdullah, Amaka Oji, Tony Ferguson and Melissa Butcher, with Mary Susserman of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency. Ryan Patterson coached the team.

“Number Crunchers” took home the third-place trophies; team members were DLA’s Vanessa Clapp, Victoria Keefer, Shawna Flener, Shetal Tiwari and Cheryln Mata, with Danis as the coach.

Also coaching teams participating in the event were Vicki Burnett and D.J. Rutherford.

Army Command Sgt. Major Charles Tobin, DLA’s senior enlisted leader, commended the participants for showing personal resiliency to meet their goals. “It’s all about taking care of yourself,” he said. “You set the standard, so thank you for participating.” Tobin joked that he plans to come back next year, after retiring, just to participate in the program.

Busch, who will also retire this year, expressed a similar sentiment. “One thing I’ll miss is the Fitness Center,” he said. “But one thing I won’t miss is the scale in the Fitness Center.”

DTRA’s command senior enlisted leader noted the “force multiplier” effect of those who set goals and stay positive. Just as negativity from a few can spread to others in a group, “your positive example is just as contagious,” said Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Timothy Horn. “The intangible and indirect impact of what you do is very important.”