For Immediate Release
August 29, 2008

KDHE Office of Communications, 785-296-0461

MEDIA ADVISORY: Governor's Council on Fitness
to Recognize Hometown Health Heroes

The Governor’s Council on Fitness will recognize recipients of the Hometown Health Hero Award at its meeting on Wednesday, September 3 in Marvin Auditorium of the Topeka-Shawnee County Public Library, 1515 S.W. 10 th St. The recipients will be recognized at noon, when the meeting begins. Senator Laura Kelly and Representative Pat Colloton will join the Council in recognizing the honorees.

The Governor’s Council on Fitness established the Hometown Health Hero Award in support of the Healthy Kansas initiative. The Council recognizes the efforts of individuals across the state that have either had a significant impact upon their community or a great personal achievement in the areas of physical activity, promoting healthy diets and/or working to prevent tobacco use in Kansas.

The Hometown Health Hero recipients being recognized include:

Don “Red Dog” Gardner , Lawrence, Kan, the first recipient of the Hometown Health Hero award. Gardner and a group of volunteers conduct three daily 45-minute activity workouts each summer, known as Dog Days. The 6 a.m., noon and 6 p.m., Monday through Thursday sessions bring area residents of all ages and activity levels to Memorial Stadium for a brisk stretching, calisthenics and aerobic activity workout. Since 1984, Dog Days has grown from six or seven athletes into a community event with an average attendance in the morning and evening of more than 450 people.

Dr. Jack Wortman , Hutchinson, Kan. Dr. Wortman served as a local physician for over 30 years in the Hutchinson community. After retiring in 1995, Dr. Wortman found more time to embrace healthy lifestyle habits and devoted his volunteer life to health. Dr. Wortman serves on a number of boards in the Hutchinson community and in that capacity has been instrumental in providing start-up and sustaining funding for several local health advocacy initiatives.

Waldo McBurney , Quinter, Kan. Mr. McBurney is a 105-year-old beekeeper and was recognized as the oldest working American in 2006. Mr. McBurney walks over one mile to work every day, showing others in his community that age can truly be defied. He is the founder of a community exercise group that is aimed at showing seniors that exercise is still important. Mr. McBurney is a marathon runner who began running at age 65 and has continued to participate in marathons since. He has also written and published his own book, My First 100 Years.

Kristey Williams , Augusta, Kan. Ms. Williams, the Mayor of Augusta, has been described by community members as “extremely enthusiastic and optimistic” as she has touched hundreds of lives in her community through her aerobics class, preparing runners for races and conducting holiday walking tours through neighborhoods. Seeing the opportunity to enhance physical activity in Augusta, she was the catalyst for Play Park Pointe, a community built playground.