Archive for the Back on My Feet category

golden runners team  The weather was perfect!  The atmosphere festive!  Everyone having a great time!  We had 70 teams running this year – last year we had 37.  Bimbo Bakeries USA provided great treats for all the runners – a hit for sure!  Wishard Eskenazi Health came with the most company teams – five teams – and plans on having more next year.

Thanks to all the teams that came out to run and support BoMF!  A round of applause  to all our volunteers (many who were our Residential Members) who helped with registration, course set up and take down, and on the course cheering our runners on! Thanks to our Relay Committee and Board Members who helped with promotion and prizes.   Many thanks to the JW Marriott and Starbucks who provided the coffee for a chilly morning!  A big thanks to Rochelle Butler who volunteered her time and talents to take photos of the race! (we will have these up on our website soon) All of you made this race a success!
As always, a HUGE THANKS to our non-residential team members who came out to run with our guys.  You are the best volunteers by far – thanks for all you do to support our Residential Members!
IMG_2754Running Shoe Size: 11
Home Town/Family: Indianapolis, two sons
Fave Athletes/Coaches: Tiger Woods, Magic Johnson
Fave Music: Jazz and R & B
Fave Post Race Beverage: Gatorade
Fave Food: Greens, macaroni and cheese and fried chicken.
In what branch did you serve? I served in the Army as a medic.
Most memorable BoMF event? I’d say it was my first race. It was the 5K at the Monumental.  I was running with another guy that was new to BoMF and we just stayed with each other.  He was a better runner than me at the time and he encouraged me at the beginning of the race. Near the end his knees started to hurt and I was encouraging him. We wouldn’t leave each other behind.
Why did you come out for the BoMF team?  I joined to meet people as soon as I got to HVAF. That was back in October 2012. I also saw that BoMF had a willingness to help those people who wanted help. BoMF’s incentives enabled me to get a laptop for school and paid for my books for school. They also helped me focus on incremental steps to move out by October. For example the Financial Literacy classes helped me re-learn how to budget money.
What’s the most challenging aspect of your life right now and how are you meeting that challenge? I just don’t want to stagnate; I want to aim higher. When I arrived to HVAF my goal was to be out in one year.  I got back in school and BoMF gave me a way to get my mind clear.
What races have you run in with BoMF? The Monumental was the first and then came the Drumstick Dash last November. I’ve also run the Winter Run at Marian University, the Bull Dog Jog, the Fast Flash and Joseph Maley at Eagle Creek Park.
Could you share more about the position you recently accepted? Once I received training and obtained my certification I was offered a position at the Veterans Administration Medical Center as a peer specialist. Many vets are in a critical stage of homelessness (over 2 years homeless) and they need help meeting basic needs such as obtaining food, shelter, transportation to medical appointment, etc. Sometimes I share my story and history with homelessness and addictions.  I do  a lot of transporting and relationship building to help support the case  managers in their work with the veterans.
What do you like to do in your spare time? Just relax! I enjoy listening to music and spending time with family.
We give a runner’s salute to Earl for his commitment to the Warman Warriors Back on My Feet Team and for his ability to set goals and meet them!

Earl and Scott getting it done at the Monumental

Earl and Scott getting it done at the Monumental

Monumental 5K Finisher

Monumental 5K Finisher

Earl and his Warman teammates just before the start of the Winter Run

Earl and his Warman teammates just before the start of the Winter Run

Pack the yogurt covered pretzels, sketch out the perfect indie playlist and grab the “run buddies” for a weekend in Austin. The Back on My Feet in24 Austin Race Challenge Presented by Ace Cash Express will have four unique races over the course of 48 hours that you’ll regret you missed. In24 takes place May 11th and 12th in Austin.

Besides racing for an incredible local cause, this weekend has something for everyone!

Five-Person Relay Challenge – Instead of competing against your friends, compete with them! This race offers options ranging from 5 to 30 miles per person. So pick your dose of crazy and loop the Camp with your friends after some classic Austin breakfast tacos (but before your dip in Barton Springs).

Sunset Run – Nothing is more satisfying than racing and beating the crap out of your friends during a legendary Hill Country sunset. This 5-mile race starts at 7:00 p.m. and ends with a pretty cool party. Stop by the beer garden post-race, stay for food from Austin’s legendary food trailers and check out groovy tunes that only the live music capitol of the world can provide…. all at in24!

Pajama Loop Run – Let’s hope you don’t sleep naked! Runners are encouraged to roll out of bed and stay in their pajamas for this 7:00 a.m. race around the 5-mile loop at Camp Mabry. This race for early risers has some serious prize money to be won!

LoneRanger Ultra-Marathon – The Lone Ranger is a true test for any long-distance runner who has tackled a marathon and is looking for something more. Challenge your will by running as many 5-mile loops inside Camp Mabry in the allotted 24-hour time period.

Whether friendly competition or changing perception is your motivation for running, we want you at in24 Austin. And here’s the best part – a hot discount!

We’re proud to be partnering with the Fairfield Inn & Suites Austin North/Parmer Lane. The hotel is just 15 minutes away from Camp Mabry. Runners who reserve their room before April 23, 2013 and use the promotional code bombomb when making their reservation get a discount. Camping at Camp Mabry is also welcome.

April showers haven’t stopped these Members from running and improving their lives one step at a time! Their endurance and perseverance is down right inspiring.

jasonsmith Jason Smith, Non-Residential Members, Dallas LIFE
“I love being a part of Back on my Feet for a lot of reasons. The diverse stories across all members is refreshing. The confidence building, hope and determination is motivating. It’s a truly heart touching organization. I’m so proud and grateful to be a Member.”
BOMF(Dallas_Chapter)green Albert, Residential Member, Dallas LIFE
Albert joined the Dallas LIFE Back on My Feet family about a month ago and has been committed ever since!  He has maintained high attendance while participating in the nine month program at Dallas LIFE.  Albert has brought honesty and positivity to the team!
melissawaters Melissa Waters, Non-Residential Member, Salvation Army
“I started running only about four years ago. Once I developed this running habit and ran a race or two, I realized that there are very few things in life that can make you feel more encouraged, positive, and confident than reaching running goals. I feel that being able to run is a gift from God that I never knew was there. Now that I know, I want to share it! I love Back on My Feet because I get to do that very thing. Everyone needs some encouragement at some point in life. BoMF is a great way to encourage others and help them develop the confidence to get back on their feet. And It’s fun!”
BOMF(Dallas_Chapter)green Katherine, Residential Member, Salvation Army
Katherine is going three months strong as a dedicated member of the Salvation Army team! Since day one, Katherine has never missed a single run! She has challenged herself to start running and is making great strides towards accomplishing that goal!  
ginger Ginger Becker, Non-Residential Member, The Bridge
“Many people falling on hard times in their lives lose confidence in their abilities to succeed. And it’s completely understandable. We help people get through these trying times by giving them tools to succeed and providing important social integration through running. It’s through running that a person can learn a lot about themselves. These lessons in building physical and mental endurance, learning to push yourself beyond what you thought is possible, and even proper breathing technique easily translates to every day survival skills in life.”
claudis Claudis, Residential Member, The Bridge
Claudis has been a part of the Back on My Feet family for about a month and has had a smile on his face the entire time!  He brings such a positive spirit to Team bridge!  Claudis has challenged himself and has gone from not being able to run much at all to almost running 2 miles in the past month!  He has shown his commitment through 100% attendance and is the first to volunteer when given the opportunity.  He is an inspiration to many and on his way to his first 5K in the coming months!
jeffkuhn Jeff Kuhn, Non-Residential Member, Veterans Affairs
I love Back on My Feet because I truly believe that taking those first couple of steps to improve oneself is the hardest part to changing. I have truly enjoyed becoming part of the BoMF Family and enjoy my Wednesday’s Runs.”

barry Barry, Residential Member, Veterans Affairs
While Barry has served our country and survived a difficult past, he is looking towards his future! Barry has maintained 95% attendance with the Veterans team and is looking forward to moving out of the facility. Barry is the first to crack a joke, just ask his teammates!


Back on My Feet staff wanted to share this inspirational story of Tina (name changed) a Residential Member with Team Bridge in Dallas to show the collaborative effort required to assist individuals to self-sufficiency. While running is a huge piece of what we do, much more goes on behind the scenes…

This is her story as told by Dennis Strickland, The Bridge’s Homeless Recovery Manager –

Tina has experienced much in her 24 years before becoming homeless and showing up at The Bridge. She came to us in August of 2011, did intake and was referred to Austin Street Center for shelter. She enrolled in our care management and we started to learn more about her: With an 11th grade education and limited skills, she had resorted to prostitution on the streets.

There was also a history of hospitalizations at Terrell State Hospital. She had a schizoaffective diagnosis, but at the time of her intake she was not receiving treatment; we linked her to LifeNet Clinic at the Bridge.

Tina has come a long way. Following months of care management, and with her behavioral health care intact, Tina was moved to our Transitional Shelter and encouraged to join Back on My Feet (BoMF) for both physical exercise and peer mentoring. She has done well with that program.

Her BoMF case manager reports,

She has gone from being very timid, shy and closed off to one who has been committed, engaged and the first to give her morning hug to our members! I know Tina has been through a lot, and I am so encouraged by her commitment to our team. Her smile gives me hope and I believe she is making strides towards a bright future.

Tina has most recently become job ready, working with the on-site Texas Workforce team. She has just obtained part-time employment, but has aspiration for more. Tina is not home, yet, but we believe she is very close to finding her way home. Our partnership is making it possible for our Guests like Tina to recover from homelessness.

Back on My Feet is honored to be a part of Tina’s recovery!

Residential Member of the Month: Terrence Robinson
He’s Moving Up!

Terrence with Melissa and Jenn

Terrence R. is on a roll! Terrence has been a strong presence with team MCVET since he joined in April 2012 and has been serving as team captain since August. After excelling in his HVAC certifications this past Fall while managing responsibilities as Vet Guard (all while maintaining over 98% attendance with BoMF), Terrence was appointed to staff at MCVET and will transition to BoMF alumni status. Terrence is incredibly driven and brings so much to his team. We are so lucky to have Terrence among the circle and look forward to supporting him in these exciting milestones ahead.

Terrence was also featured this month!  Read more about Terrence here.

Non-Residential Member of the Month: John Ware
Man, Those are Some Cool Shorts!

John Ware with Shannon and Georgeanne

John W. has been running with Team MCVET since 2009 and now sits on the BoMF Advisory Board. Weekday runs, races and socials alike, John is there in support and often sporting one of his many pairs of snappy monogram shorts! In addition to his own contributions to the team John must also be noted for his solid recruiting of two additional cherished BoMFers – his wonderful wife Shannon and their newest addition “mini-MCVETer” Georgeanne.

CHRIS R - Omar

Omar, on the left, poses with Ravens Running Back Ray Rice.

Residental Member of the Month: Omar

Omar joined the team at Christopher’s Place on October 17 and has made great strides, already accumulating 52 miles.  He has quite a few greatest moments, but the one that stands out is when he attended the pasta party at Christopher’s Place and was able to sit and talk with some really great people.  He recalls that evening as having such a positive and relaxed environment.  Omar finds running longer distances to be his biggest challenge, but he hopes to run a race in the near future.  He basically thinks about putting one foot in front of the other when he runs.  Team Leader, Diane calls Omar “the team’s number 1 cheerleader at all the Back on My Feet races!!”

Non-Residental Members of the Month: Chris and Brockett

CHRIS NR - Chris and Brockett

Chris and Brockett, also the “Dynamic Duo,” run with Christopher’s Place.  Brockett first joined BoMF in 2008, is one of the founding members of team CP, and continues to be a vital part of the team.  Chris joined in 2011 because he saw how happy Brockett was when she came home after her morning run.  Chris’ favorite moment since joining, was seeing Arnell’s pride at finishing the Baltimore half.  Brockett loves the feeling of being inspired to be part of a group of unlike people who are so alike.  When these two are running, they tend to think about each other.  Brockett hopes that Chris’ knee isn’t hurting, and Chris is hoping that Brockett’s IT band isn’t hurting.  Other than that, they count Ravens jerseys.  You may not know this, but Brockett and Chris dated for eleven years before getting married.  And they are the cutest darn couple,” says Team Leader Diane.


Shoe Size?  10.5 B

Favorite post run food?  I crave salty things after running and will let myself have a bit to replenish some of what I lost on a run. But since I have high blood pressure I try to limit that. Lately I’ve been introduced to post-run smoothies in hot weather or hot chocolate in colder weather and taken a liking to them.

Why do you run?  Lots of reasons. I have high blood pressure, high cholesterol and a family history of heart disease. Running isn’t enough, but it helps to keep some of those things in check. While that is an important reason, however, it more than that. Running takes me back to playful times as a child and track and cross country as a teen. It is fun to test yourself and see what I am capable of accomplishing. But primarily because running makes me feel better. Physically, yes, but it also helps with your mental attitude. I love music and I love running … but I don’t listen to music while running (with occasional exceptions when the treadmill is the only way to get in your long run). Running is my time to think and sort out what is happening in the world and my life if I’m running alone or to talk and share experiences with friends if running with them.

How many marathons/half marathons/5ks have you done?  Marathons: 13; Half-marathons: 22; 5ks: Not more than 5?

Favorite race you’ve ever done?  Different faves for different reasons. Grandma’s Marathon because it was my first. Columbus Marathon because it was the first time I didn’t hit the wall. Big Sur Marathon for the scenic beauty. Twin Cities Marathon because it was my Boston qualifier. My first Boston because I left everything out there and met my goal. My second Boston because I took it easy and savored the crowd and the experience. JFK because it taught me that I could not only survive, but thrive, at longer distances. Running the 1st 42k relay as The Lone Ranger and being juiced off all the other teams cheering each other on. And the Detroit Free Press Marathon because it was a shared experience in a place that I lived and worked for many years.


Favorite music?  Varied — classic rock, alternative, folk, jazz, blues, country.

Favorite vacation spot?  Anywhere with access to outdoor activities & nature.

Family?  I hail from Michigan’s great Upper Peninsula where my mom and older sister still live. My younger sister migrated to Mid-Michigan. I kept running further South.

Bucket list item you plan to cross off soon?  First overseas marathon … possibly the Dingle Marathon in Ireland this September. Maybe pacing someone at Leadville this August.

What is your favorite memory of a time with BoMF so far?  There are so many because it is so neat to see how the guys develop and progress… but probably the time that I was running with one of the Warman Warriors who didn’t usually say much and on this particular day he had a lot to share about things that were happening in his life. I’d ask a question here and there but mostly let him talk. He spoke of the challenges he had faced and that he still faced and how important running was to him in helping him deal with the challenges in positive ways. At one point he said — “This running, it’s really good for dealing with stress.” I replied to him that, yes, it most certainly is — and smiled a big smile knowing that he was now likely a runner for life.

How did you hear about BoMF? What has BoMF meant to you? Why did you stick with it?  I had read about Anne and the original Philly BOMF chapter in Runner’s World a few years back and had thought that if something like that ever came to Indy that I wanted to take part. In early 2011 I got an email from The Blue Mile saying that BOMF would be starting here in a couple of months. So I went to an orientation and have been involved ever since. BOMF isn’t about me running — it is about sharing running with others. I keep with it because of the difference it makes for the residents. Some get more out of it than others — but it is really special to see the difference it can make over the course of several months or a year.

What made you decide to be the Team Coach?  Brian made me an offer I couldn’t refuse.

Advise for people who might want to start running with BoMF?  Come out give it a try. There are lots of people who go through an orientation that never end up participating. I think if they come once they are likely to return — and if they return they are in for a treat … seeing the role that running, and the importance of interacting with others who participate in BOMF, has in helping to transform their lives.

Let’s get a new year off to a great start! These Members have gone above and beyond the regular M/W/F runs and shown us the spirit of Back on My Feet!

adam Adam Rubin, Non-Residential Members, Dallas LIFE
“I love Back on My Feet because it’s really the perfect way to start off the day. Every morning run with Dallas LIFE is a truly energizing experience – everyone’s so positive and encouraging, it’s infectious. And if someone is having a rough morning, everyone else is there for support. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to have met my teammates – they’re such an inspiring group of people. Often times after runs, I wonder if I’ll ever be able to give back as much as I’ve gotten out of this experience. Back on My Feet is a very special organization, and I’m honored to be a small part of it.”
Christopher, Residential Member, Dallas LIFE
Christopher is a great team member! Christopher joined Back on My Feet in November 2012 and has attended every class available. He is currently looking for employment and enjoying leading his team with a positive attitude. Way to go Christopher!
Raul Serrano, Non-Residential Member, Salvation Army
“I like coming out to see the smiling faces and welcoming arms from both Residential and Non-Residential Members alike. Everyone always seems honestly happy to be there and glad I’m there with them. Running is something I would do on my own but it’s better when I’m there.”
vanessa Vanessa, Residential Member, Salvation Army
Vanessa has volunteered on multiple occasions at races where we depended on volunteers. She has attended all of the Financial Literacy classes and loves coming to the monthly computer courses. However, Virginia’s greatest accomplishment to date is gaining new employment in January 2013!
Natalie Avis Natalie Avis, Non-Residential Member, The Bridge
“I love that through Back on My Feet I have the opportunity to meet wonderful people from all kinds of backgrounds and life situations. My teammates are always supportive and full of positive energy, even at 5:45 am! After every run I am encouraged to be a better and healthier person, and I love seeing the accomplishments of Team Bridge, both Residential and Non-Residential Members.”
Theresa, Residential Member, The Bridge
Theresa pushes herself despite a foot injury. Always ready for a hug and consistently smiling, Theresa loves the fact that Back on My Feet has helped her meet new friends!
 bryan Bryan Cathey, Non-Residential Member, Veterans Affairs
“I love to run and I love to help people. A friend told me about Back on My Feet and it seemed like a perfect marriage of the two. I had no idea I would actually look forward to waking up at 4 AM three times a week but I do – and running with the VA team has quickly become a very meaningful part of my life. Back on My Feet is an amazing organization that allows me to give back in some small measure what was so freely given to me during my own personal struggles.”
Mike, Residential Member, Veterans Affairs
While not the loudest Member of the team, Mike reservedly supports his teammates, Back on My Feet and staff. He has offered to go above and beyond the usual Member expectations on numerous occasions. We are very proud of his success and look forward to seeing Mike run towards his goals!

The holidays have us cheering for joy! Joyous cheers for EIGHT members of the month! Congrats guys!

Steve Ward, Non-Residential Members, Dallas LIFE
“I love to run with Back on My Feet because of the opportunity to serve and run with others. I believe in the relationships we develop with the Residential Members and look forward to seeing them every week. The Residential Members help me more than what I can do for them. They are my family and I love them all.”
Adam, Residential Member, Dallas LIFE
Adam, a University of Nebraska alumni, is one of the most kind-hearted Residential Members at Dallas LIFE. He not only leads the pack in running, but will circle back to the walkers to ensure everyone’s safety on morning runs. Thanks for showing us how to be a team member Adam!
Lisa Tran, Non-Residential Member, Salvation Army
“I love Back on My Feet because the organization is a perfect blend of what I feel most passionate about: building a better community by serving others and running! In the past few months of joining the Salvation Army team, I have met amazing people who inspire me to truly live out the Serenity Prayer.”
Mike, Residential Member, Salvation Army
Mike is amazing! He has such a positive attitude. Mike goes out of his way to help Back on My Feet staff and he loves donuts! How couldn’t you love Mike??
Abraham Lagmay, Non-Residential Member, The Bridge
“At first, I was uncertain that I could commit the time to volunteering at Back on My Feet with my own selfish reasons. As time went on, I began to realize how Back on My Feet continues to change the lives of Residential Members, including mine. Seeing someone who was in the depths of despair suddenly has hope for the future is a gift beyond words.  It has been an incredibly rewarding experience for me so far. I am proud to be a part of such an amazing organization.We are one big ‘human’ family!”
Sharon, Residential Member, The Bridge
Sharon has come back from great odds to rejoin her Back on My Feet family at The Bridge. She maintained 100% attendance in November and transitioned to the upstairs living facility. We are very proud of where Sharon is today and the depression she is fighting through walking every Monday, Wednesday and Friday!
Dr. Mike Cunningham, Non-Residential Member, Veterans Affairs
Dr. C, as he is so affectionately called by the Residential Members, has been a constant support of the brand new program at the VA. We are excited to have his support as Dr. C is the supervisor of the entire program. His early morning runs with the team are a huge endorsement of the program within the VA Hospital. Thank you Dr. C!
Raymond, Residential Member, Veterans Affairs
Raymond always pushes himself further and refuses to walk with the team. His determination is contagious and he is an inspiration to his teammates. He has a quirky and fun attitude with his Back on My Feet family. Way to go Raymond!