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603693_10200287337004108_1469953829_nShoe Size? 9

Favorite post run food? Chocolate milk

Why do you run? In addition to keeping me sane most days, it centers me and helps me be a better person.

How many marathons/half marathons/5ks have you done? 4 marathons, around 10 half marathons and no 10k or 5ks.

Favorite race you’ve ever done? The Chicago Marathon, my first one, many years ago.

Bucket list item you plan to cross off soon? Learn to swim

Favorite music? I love all kinds, could never narrow it down to a favorite. Although, Jimmy Buffett is high on my list this time of year.

Favorite vacation spot? “Up North” Michigan

Family? Husband, John, and 2 kids. Vincent is 11 and Sydney is 7.

How did you hear about BoMF? What has BoMF meant to you? Why did you stick with it? I heard about BoMF through a friend at the same time I was looking for some new volunteer opportunities. I have loved every minute I have spent with BoMF. Through all the people I have met, residents and non-residents, they have inspired and encouraged me to learn to love better those around me and to always be grateful. Once you start, it’s easy to stick with because of the people. I continue to be humbled by the amazing people that I am surrounded with each time I show up to run.

What is your favorite memory of a time with BoMF so far?It’s hard to narrow it down. I have many great memories. If I had to narrow it down though, it would be a tie between running the Carmel half marathon with Joe, Barb and Deb and attending the BoMF Birthday Bash. It was especially great seeing all the guys,not only in the daylight, but also, all dressed up and looking sharp!

Advice for people who might want to start running with BoMF? 5:45am is not as early as it seems :). It’s a great way to start the day.

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Thanks for your dedication to the team Lori!  Keep up the great work!

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

Running Shoe Size: 8

Tony enjoying a little of his fave post face food with Jamie Burns.

Tony enjoying a little of his fave post face food with Jamie Burns.

Home Town:  Shelbyville, IN

Fave Music:  Heavy Metal and Rock N Roll

Fave Post Race Food: Bananas

Fave Food: Pepperoni Pizza

In what branch of the military did you serve?  Marines

Most memorable BoMF memory? “Probably the Joseph Maley Run last July. I set a goal of 35 minutes and I met it.”

Why did you come out for the BoMF team?  “My leg was in bad shape and I thought coming out to run with Back on My Feet  would help.”

What difference has BoMF made in your life? “My leg feel feels better and I’m in much better shape.  The friendships are a positive influence and the volunteers are encouraging. And of course I appreciate the grant money.”

What’s most challenging aspect of your life right now and how are you meeting that challenge? “Getting up in the morning. I am NOT a morning person.”

What races have you run in with BoMF? “A bunch – I’ve been running with the team for about a year. Some of the races are Carmel 5K, Out Run the Sun, Pogue’s Run, Eagle Creek Trail Run, Indy Monumental 5K and the BoMF 42K Relay

What do you like to do in your spare time? “Well I’m a pretty good car mechanic and I like to play chess online.”

BHAGs (Big Hairy Audacious Goals) “I want to secure a steady income and my my own place.”

We give a runner’s salute to Tony for his commitment to the team and a pat on the back for improving his running times and distance.

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Shoe Size?  Running shoes – 9; non-running shoes – 7.5

Favorite post run food?  Coffee since it’s usually early in the morning!

Why do you run?  I love the challenge and the “me” time to clear my mind, and I love my friendships that have developed from running.  My closest friends started out as running partners before we really knew one another.

How many marathons/half marathons/5ks have you done?  Zero marathons; 6 half marathons, lots of 5Ks

Favorite race you’ve ever done?  Nashville Half Marathon

Bucket list item you plan to cross off soon?  Completing my first full marathon this year, along with getting married and turning 30!

Favorite music?  Anything with lyrics, I like it all!

Favorite vacation spot?  Anywhere by water- I love the beach, northern Michigan, my parents’ lake house!

Family?  Getting married in April- so that will make a husband, Peter!  I have one sister who is marries with 2 kids.

How did you hear about BoMF? What has BoMF meant to you? Why did you stick with it?  My friend was the sales assistant for the JW Marriott and did the launch event for BoMF Indianapolis.  She emailed our friends trying to raise money for BoMF and as soon as I read about it, I knew I wanted to get involved.

What is your favorite memory of a time with BoMF so far?  I really enjoyed the 42K relay last October, and I have a particularly fond memory of one of the resident members laying out his plan on how he was going to better his situation during one of our Saturday morning training runs.

Advice for people who might want to start running with BoMF?  You don’t have to be a runner to join!  But it’s difficult not to be motivated when you’re surrounded by a group of runners.  It’s a great way to meet all different types of people and help a great cause while you’re doing it.

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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!
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Erika and Joe!

Shoe Size? 9

Favorite post run food? I would have to say pizza.

Why do you run? I love how running makes me feel happy.

How many marathons/half marathons/5ks have you done? I just completed my 10th marathon in November!

Favorite race you’ve ever done? My favorite race is Tecumseh Trail Marathon because it was my first full marathon, plus I’m a big fan of trail running!

Bucket list item you plan to cross off soon? I would like to someday finish a half Ironman distance triathlon.

Favorite music? Christian and Pop/Rock.

Favorite vacation spot? Anywhere warm and near the ocean!

Family? I have one younger brother who runs the Indy Mini with me every year along with our mom. My dad isn’t a runner, but enjoys walking his dog.

How did you hear about BoMF? What has BoMF meant to you? Why did you stick with it? I heard about BoMF from a friend at church who is a non-resident runner, Andy Chandler. Andy mentioned BoMF several times and I finally went to a meeting to see what it was all about. BoMF has shown me how the power of community can help us become better people. Alone, we’d probably not be exercising outside in the early hours of the morning or building these friendships. However, together, we are able to become healthier physically, as well as emotionally. I stick with it because I am always in a better mood after running with BoMF!

What is your favorite memory of a time with BoMF so far? I remember one morning last spring we were running downtown from Warman and saw a mouse! I don’t want to name any names, but the little mouse really frightened one resident!

Advice for people who might want to start running with BoMF? I think that the most important thing to remember is always give your best. This is easier said than done, but I know that most of us are stronger than we think!

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Circle up with Mike, Erika, Barb, and Joe on a freezing cold race day!

Written from the perspective of and by Kathryn Fernandez, Non-Residential Member

 

             Saturday morning at 8:00 am I made the brisk walk to House of Passage, a shelter for single women, just a half mile from my apartment in West Philly.  I was showing up this Saturday morning to ride with the House of Passage Back on My Feet team to the annual Pickle Run, a 5k run known for its hidden pickle prizes. The race is unique because the end goal isn’t to have the fastest time, but instead, to finish as close to your predicted time as possible (nobody is permitted to wear watches).  I had the opportunity to see the House of Passage team launch, and I have done my best to attend the occasional morning run for the last few months but I typically meet new Residential Members every time I attend an event. This morning was the same, I showed up early and sat down at a picnic table next to two women wearing Back on My Feet clothing. I wasn’t sure if they were Residential Members or Non-Residential Members, a perfect example of how everyone appears wonderfully equal when they’re wearing their running sneaks.  I started talking to Melinda, whom I quickly discovered was a Residential Member running her first 5k. She was talking quickly and excitedly and it was obvious she was nervous. She said she hadn’t slept all night, she was worried she wouldn’t finish the race and would disappoint the team, but I think, she was worried about disappointing herself. She kept saying, “I’m just going to do my best.”  She also remarked that she was nervous she would end up running alone or holding other runners back from doing well. How ironic that she was worrying about running alone and my greatest fear was not finding a partner to run with myself. I told her that I would run with her the whole time and that I was relieved to have a partner. We started the race a few hours later, after a twisty half an hour ride in a packed van, and a team leader dressed as a pickle (I’m not fibbing), and an hour long wait in the 36 degree, sunny but freezing cold day.  The beginning of races are always exciting and everyone runs too fast, accelerated by their adrenaline and the spectator’s cheers. Melinda was short of breath at first and idle chitchat was not a priority. Of course, I just chattered away, I was hoping to distract her, but probably I just like to talk too much. Finally, when she settled into a good pace we were able to converse, and I discovered Melinda had never walk/ran more than a mile. Her estimated finish time was 60 minutes. I was pretty surprised considering we were walking and running at a pretty consistent pace, and Melinda seemed to be doing great. We kept our eyes out for hidden pickles along the way, but alas, we never found one. The halfway turnaround seemed to come fairly quickly, and the horrible hill didn’t really seem so horrible. Melinda was slowing down, just a little, and she was concerned she wouldn’t make 60 minutes. I laughed and said, “Melinda I will be surprised if it takes you longer than 45 minutes”. She didn’t believe me. Not long after we saw the Back on My Feet volunteers holding up signs for Melinda and cheering us along. Melinda had even invited her friend to come and cheer, and what a great choice of support because she had an impressive set of pipes. The finish line was in sight! Melinda, amongst cheers from the team, a team leader dressed as a pickle, and with her new friend, crossed the finished line, with tears in her eyes. Her first words, “I did my best” I turned her around and said, “look at the time!” She had finished in 39 minutes! It is amazing how proud of someone you can feel, even after only having known them for a couple of hours. The best part…during the awards ceremony Melinda was the most improved on her predicted time, the prize… a jar of pickles.

 

Pickle Run

The Prize!

The Prize!

 

The whole BoMF Chicago Family at our most recent all-team run, in celebration of Sarah's Circle!

The whole BoMF Chicago Family at our most recent all-team run,
in celebration of Sarah’s Circle!

Even a brisk and windy morning couldn’t damper the enthusiasm of Back on My Feet Chicago this past Friday! On a morning much colder and darker than the average person might prefer, our Back on My Feet teams found smiles in every step and new friendship in our miles.  Teammates from all four Chicago teams gathered together to celebrate the revamped Uptown team and to have a morning together as BoMF family.  Despite shivers at first, everyone left the run warmed up and warm at heart!

Our new Uptown team, formerly made up of Residential members from the North Side Housing facility, now also welcomes teammates from the shelter around the corner, Sarah’s Circle.  This all-women’s facility is thrilled to partner with Back on My Feet, and three women make up our first batch of eager participants.  With a particularly strong and enthusiastic group of NonResidential teammates by their side, the new women—all trying running for the first time—already feel so much support and encouragement.

Friday was incredible because it gave our new members a chance to meet the whole Back on My Feet family, and it reminded old members of why our BoMF family is so special.  While riding home from the run, a longtime Lawson House teammate said, “There’s just no other group like us. Nowhere else where you can be this happy, find all this positivity, feel this energy.” 

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves… and we are excited to share these sentiments as we welcome the women from Sarah’s Circle into our Back on My Feet circle.   

The revitalized and revamped Team Uptown, now welcoming women from Sarah's Circle!

The revitalized and revamped Team Uptown, now welcoming women from Sarah’s Circle!

This year at Back on My Feet Philadelphia’s holiday party the annual talent show is becoming an exciting and valuable tradition. We would like to share a particularly special talent shared by one of our resident members. Antwan B. composed and performed a rap about his experience with Back on My Feet, below we would like to share his lyrics.

 

Antwan performing his rap

Antwan performing his rap

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trust

Trust I’mma let the truth be told

Trust that I will never bend, break or fold

Trust that I will never live in the cold

Since I met Back on My Feet

Gradually ya man is Back on his Feet

Tragically I had to endure some bad situations

But nevertheless I’m still out here motivated

Racing to the finish line, yea, the prize is mine

I’m in my prime, like Optimus Prime

But, this is not a cartoon

These streets can suck you in, just like a vacuum

or like a toilet in a bathroom

Killing you with bad fumes

So I suggest I get my A Game!

Straight like Kobe Bryant on a fast break

I have to penetrate my adversaries

The clock is ticking, the cops are riffing,the glock is spitting,

A young thug gets dropped, no pitty

See this is what I see in my cityof Brotherly Love,

you can see a brother get slugged

So I try to avoid these circumstances

And Back on My Feet they gave me second chances

Trust I’mma let the truth be told

Trust I will never bend, break or fold

Trust I will never leave you in the cold.

Jay


Branch of military: Army

Shoe Size: 10.5

Longest race with BoMF: Drumstick Dash (4.6 miles)

Favorite food before/after race: I LOVE all food minus tomatoes

Favorite Movie: Tie between Brian’s Song and Billie Jack

Favorite kind of music: all kinds, favorite song is Kid Rock’s Born Free

Favorite color: Blue

Favorite place to visit: Hawaii, Italy or France

Life dream: Go to golf school

What do you like about BoMF: I hated running when I got out of the Army because it was my job. Now I do it for fun and enjoy it. It helps me set goals and every run I finish is achieving a goal. I battle addiction and this helps me get through it and I find it therapeutic. I feel better, set goals, achieve them and set larger goals.

 Jay has hit the ground running, literally. Jay quickly took to jogging and now has been running with our fast pace run group. He’s excited seeing his miles accumulate quickly in the running group and has inspired other guys to push themselves harder.

 

Damon 

Damon with his stocking that the Manchester Non-Residential teammates put together for the Residential teammates!

Branch of military: Army

Family: Mother, 2 brothers, 1 sister, 2 daughters (28 & 26) and one son (24)

Shoe size: 12

Hometown: Indianapolis

Favorite pre-race food: he doesn’t eat despite all the good advice given to him :-)

Favorite post-race food: bananas and water

Favorite music: Pop – he loves Michael Jackson – no wonder why he was seriously shaking a tail feather at the Drumstick Dash!

Favorite color: Blue

Favorite movie: Scarface

Place he wants to visit: Africa

Goals: get married again, be a good husband, father, grandfather and product member of society

What do you like about BoMF: It’s the true meaning of team work. It’s a relationship with no conditions and provides me with a sense of health. I never thought I could run, but I realize I can!

Damon has been on our injured list for quite some time, but Damon is out with us to open and close the morning with our prayer circle and he does it with a great attitude. He is the first to volunteer for something when we need help and his smile and laugh is always a great start to any one’s morning!

Damon with his Back on My Feet 42K Relay teammates! Team “I’d rather be eating”