Posts Tagged Progress House

JP came to Progress House in early October 2011.

Walking during the Carmel Marathon Weekend

He promptly became a member of our Back on My Feet Team team even though he is unable to run (he is recovering from a stroke and  could barely walk ½ mile). He has been a regular at our gathering and closing circles, he’s always volunteered to support our water stops, and he’s been on the sidelines cheering our runners.

He has been our “best and brightest” ambassador within Progress House, whether sitting at the front desk or checking on other residents (have you ever noticed how he greets every resident going in and out of Progress House with their first name and a friendly comment?!).

JP’s Celebration:

I don’t know what JP was like during his first 54 years of life. I’ve only known JP for not quite a year. During that year, I’ve seen him develop about the largest mutual admiration society that I’ve ever seen. He has touched all of us in important ways, but he also is very quick to state that he has been profoundly affected by Back on My Feet and each person in the program.

JP and Team Leader Dave celebrating 1 year of sobriety

A few weeks ago, JP celebrated his one year anniversary of sobriety, and at our gathering Friday morning he humbly described the importance that BoMF has had in his life. As many of us noted, he has had an equally important  role in so many of our lives. As the t-shirt that I saw a few weeks ago on the woman runner stated, “Our Past is Not Our Potential”. JP may be one of the more notable members of our team reflecting this message, but each person that participates, contributes, shows up for races, or finds other ways to support our mission, is demonstrating a willingness to move beyond our past and pursue our potential.

Although JP readily and frequently credits BoMF as an essential part of his recovery efforts the past 13 months, the full story has to recognize the remarkable impact JP has had on other Progress House residents as well as so many BoMF volunteers. I realize that this is sounding like a eulogy, but it is intended to be an expression of thanks and appreciation as JP takes his next steps in his life.

This past Thursday he moved to an apartment in the Castleton/Fishers area. JP has promised to be an “active Alumni” at some of our morning runs as well as our races (he’ll be at the BoMF water stop at the Monumental Marathon).

Intern Mark and JP volunteering at the Polar Bear Doubler

Rather than dwelling on my sadness that I won’t see JP at the PH front desk, I want to focus on my gratitude to BoMF (both Residential Members and Non Residential Members) for providing support for JP and his continuing commitment to get back on his feet. There have been many others that have added so much to our team, with each, like JP, confirming the value of the BoMF mission. I am thankful for JP, and all of us wish him well. In addition, I know that JP joins me in expressing gratitude to each of the volunteers in your support of BoMF.

JP Volunteering at the Wilds Restoration Charity Golf outing benefiting Back on My Feet. Advocating for the program as always.

- Progress House Team Leader, Dave Jose

Progress House Non-Res Member of the Month: Anthony Williams

Running shoe size:  11

Hometown:  Salem, Indiana

Family:   Father (Jeff), Mother (Pam), and Brother (Eric, 25)

Day job:  Marion Superior Court, Probation Officer

Anthony and Lori at Outrun the Sun, a race BoMF participated in earlier this summer to raise awareness about skin cancer.

Favorite post-run food: Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie from Yogulatte. I could have one every single day!

Favorite race memory: Finishing my first Half Marathon last year at the Monumental.

How did you get involved with BoMF:  I had my arm twisted to start coming for my Saturday training runs in preparation for the Monumental last year.  I’m sure glad they did!

How long have you been with BoMF:  Since September 2011

Why do you run:  About two and half years ago, my father lost his second leg to diabetes.  It was at that moment I decided I didn’t want to be in that same situation. I was well on that path, weighing over 275 pounds. I started focusing on my diet and after success and some encouragement from friends I began to run. I lost almost 100 pounds in the process.

What else do you like to do in your free time:  I am addicted to television and I also spend too much time on my iPad.

What are some of your goals right now: I am currently training for the Chicago Marathon in October.

What is your favorite BoMF memory:  It was so great to see my two worlds collide last week at the APPA conference. It was great to hear all of the positive things officers from around the country had to say about BoMF. Even more impressive was the large circles we had both mornings.

What do you like most about BoMF:   It feels like a family and for someone like me who has no immediate family close, I look forward to seeing everyone each and every morning.

BoMF does Pogue’s Run “Race for Roofs” for the second time.  All three of our teams were able to participate in the 5 mile run/walk this past Saturday.  There were a total of 28 runners and four of those were first time runners.  Those runners consisted of Jesse Rhodes and Al Fager from Progress House and Damon Simms and Kennie Dishough from Manchester House. It was a beautiful day for all runners!

Damon made his first race look easy!

Kennie running his first race with Team Manchester.

BoMF Indy would like to give a huge thanks to Englewood Community Development Corporation and Englewood Christian Church for hosting a great race!  Also, thank you to all of our volunteers who helped with transportation and those who ran!


Kyle, Dave, and JP taking the 'scenic' route of the Carmel 1 Mile Fun Run!

JP came to the Back on My Feet program at the beginning of February of this year after having two strokes late in 2011. These strokes caused him to lose feeling in the left side of his body, his speech was impaired, and his walking ability was greatly affected. Physical Therapy helped him to relearn to walk, talk, and use his hands. When he joined the program, he was barely off of walking with a cane and was lucky to walk a full 20 minutes. Since joining, we have seen JP walk up to an hour and a half and increase his speed as well as his distance. JP has a goal along with the Progress House Team Coach Joe that he will be running in 6 months in the program. JP is strong willed and we know he will accomplish this goal in that time frame!

Running Shoe Size: 12

Hometown/Family: Clinton, IN  2 Daughters, 2 Granddaughters

Favorite Athlete: Brett Farve because he was always dependable, played hurt, was always on the field to play

Favorite Music: Country! Anything by Alan Jackson and Kenny Chesney

Favorite Post Run Food: Fruit, especially bananas and I LOVE bacon!

Why did you join BoMF?

I played football in college and was always active before the strokes. I saw other teammates in the house talking and joking around and I saw Brian after a practice but was walking with a cane still. Brian said if I could get walking without a cane, he would let me join. I pushed myself hard to walk without the cane to be a self walker. Since joining, I look forward to the smiles and attitudes and I feel I am at home. BoMF has plugged me back into life. I learned to ask for people’s help when I was first recovering from the strokes and my life has changed from that moment. BoMF helps me to continue to ask for help when I need it.

Why Progress House? What were you overcoming?

My Neurologist recommended after having two strokes caused by alcohol within a month of each other I come to live at Progress House.

What races have you been a part of with BoMF?

Participated: Carmel 1 Mile Fun Run, Bull Dog Jog

Volunteered/Cheered: Polar Bear Doubler, Legacy Loop 5k, Carmel Half Marathon/8k, Geist Half Marathon/5k

In your spare time, what do you like to do?

Read a lot, learn to ride a motorcycle again, see my grandkids, meet new people, I love people!

How has BoMF helped you recover from your two strokes?

I am able to walk better, close to normal again. I have gained a confidence I didn’t think I could ever have, I interact with people like never before. My balance is coming back and will continue to get stronger with time. My speech is getting better; I have a positive outlook on life and I have learned that everything is possible if you surround yourself with positive people. With BoMF, I am learning things aren’t problems, just solutions and BoMF gives me the drive to reach out and try something. My doctors can’t believe the progress I am making, and the progress would not be possible without Back on My Feet!

JP’s BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goals):

1. I want to run someday.

2. Plug back into the workforce and do something with my free time.

3. Be more giving, thank those who have given so much to me.

4. Do whatever I can to give back to Back on My Feet because of everything they have given me. I can’t thank them enough, their support is priceless!

Leona, JP, and Kelli before the start of the Geist Half Marathon

The long awaited Birthday celebration was a HUGE success! There were so many special moments at the event and we are so grateful for the support of the Indianapolis community.

A big thanks to EMCEE Andi Hauser!

First and foremost- thank you so much to all of the incredible sponsors who made this day possible- and a special thanks to the Bruce and Beth White Family Foundation for their generous contribution of $65,000 to the Indianapolis chapter on this exciting day.

Since 2010, White Lodging has been a huge supporter of BoMF and last March, they helped kick off the launch of the Indianapolis Chapter. Once again, they stepped up and brought in an array of supporters to get involved and sponsor the Birthday Luncheon. We have been incredibly fortunate to have such a strong, committed partner in White Lodging.

Thank you to our Birthday Luncheon honoree Dave Sibley, President and CEO of Hospitality Management at White Lodging, Scott Blalock, General Manager, JW Marriott and Phil Ray, General Manager, Indianapolis Marriott Downtown for advocating for BoMF, sharing our story with partner companies and rallying for support.

Highlights of the day included:

  • President and Founder, Anne Mahlum sharing her story with our supporters
  • Honoring Dave Sibley, President and CEO of Hospitality Management at White Lodging
  • Honoring Non-Residential Members of the Year, Tom and Deb Gardner
  • Honoring Residential Members of the Year Ron Gephart and James Boyd
  • Sharing the day with our supporters in the Indianapolis community

THANK YOU to all of the Sponsors for the 2012 Indianapolis Birthday Luncheon, we were able to raise over $190,000 through this event!

Marathon Title sponsor:

Half marathon Presenting Sponsors:

10-Mile Sponsors:

Markey’s Rental and Staging, Simon Property Group, Wilds Restoration

5-Mile Sponsors:

Brickman Group, Colts NFL, Devine Group, Faegre Baker & Daniels, Gilchrist and Soames, Greater Indianapolis Hotel and Lodging Association, Harry and Izzy’s, Indianapolis Downtown Inc, KPM Hotel Group, NCAA, Piazza Produce, St. Elmo’s SteakhouseSt Vincent Health, REI Investments, Inc, United Water

Supported By:

AT&T, Cintas, Cogent Media Group, ExactTarget, HH Gregg, Indianapolis Indians, Indianapolis Convention and Visitors Association, Towne Park, USA Track & Field, WishTV, GreenSky Media, Harding Poorman Group, Chrissy Vasquez, Steve and Debbie Vasquez, Tom and Deb Gardner, Emilee Britt, Dave Jose, Tom Thompson, Joe Langebartels, Leona Frank, Team Progress House, Teams HVAF of Indiana Manchester and Warman.

Thank you to all of the Silent Auction Donors and Bidders!

Non-Residential Members of the Year Tom and Deb Gardner!

Residential Member of the Year Ron Gephart!

Residential Member of the Year James Boyd!

We are excited for what is in store for this coming year and can’t wait to share stories of success with everyone! Thank you all for your support!

Meghan and Progress House teammates before the Carmel Half, all smiles!

Meghan has been an instrumental part of Progress House‘s volunteer base since joining Back on My Feet last summer. Meghan will always offer a listening ear to anyone with an ailment and try to help with a stretch or advise. She is also one of the instructors of Wednesday Night Yoga, which is a fun time if you haven’t tried! Meghan, along with the other instructors always do their very best to stretch the participants! We will miss Meghan when she moves to Michigan to continue her career as a Physical Therapist in July, but we are glad she could spend some time with our team.

Shoe Size? 6 but I normally wear a 7 in running shoes

Favorite post run food? peanut butter on bananas and chocolate milk

How many marathons/half marathons/5ks have you done? I’ve done 3 half marathons and numerous 5ks

Favorite race you’ve ever done? this would be a tie between the Carmel Half Marathon the other week and the Soldier Field 10 Miler last May.

Favorite music? I enjoy all types of music as long as I can sing along!

Favorite athlete/team/sport? I love college football especially Michigan State.  I also love the Chicago White Sox.

Favorite vacation spot?

Sister Lakes, Michigan, we have been renting the same cottage for 26 years and I love spending a week relaxing at the beach.

Bucket list item you plan to cross off soon?

I just crossed off running a Half Marathon in under 2 hours thanks to the wonderful support of BoMF!

Why do you run?

I love that time when I can be alone with my thoughts and not have to answer any emails or phone calls.  When I am running all of my energy and focus is just on myself and whoever I am running with.  It’s such a special time of day for me.

Tell us about your family?

I am the youngest of four and all of my family lives in Chicago.  I have hands down the cutest niece in the world and I love going up north to visit my family as much as possible.

What is your day job?  I am a Physical Therapist at Methodist Hospital.

What is your most memorable BoMF memory?

It’s hard to think of my most memorable memory as every day that I run with BoMF has truly impacted the rest of my day.  I Loved though at the polar bear doubler when Keith showed up dressed as a polar bear I don’t think I’ve laughed like that in a long time.

How did you hear about BoMF? Why did you stick with it? What has BoMF meant to you?

I heard about BoMF through the yoga community and also a friend who runs with the program up in Chicago.  I thought I would start out just running one day a week but as soon as I showed up for my first run I knew it was a perfect fit and that I would be there as much as possible.  BoMF has meant turning a positive spin on running for me.  I used to just run so that I could eat more food ha, but now I love the relationships that I have formed with all the members and look forward to seeing everyone at 5:45 M, W and F.

How is BoMF helping you with your future career? 

The encouragement that I get from the members of BoMF on a daily basis is overwhelming, they have taught me to believe in myself and with hard work anything is possible! I never thought I would have applied for these residency positions and with the support of my running friends I have gained that self-confidence!

Will you recruit morning runners from your job in Michigan this summer to run with you, or how will you keep the motivation of running? 

I love that we get weekly emails with our plan for runs during the week and so I plan to run exactly as Coach Joe advises (even the Fartleks!)  Although I think it will be hard to find friends to run with me at 5:45 MWF, knowing that everyone is running at that time back in Indy will be great motivation.  I am looking forward to running on all the trails and hills in Michigan and then hopefully coming back to run races here!

Advise for people who might want to start running with BoMF? DO IT! It will change your life in ways that you cannot even imagine!

Anything else you want to share with readers? I am so thankful for my time being a part of the BoMF family and I look forward to visiting and running once again with an incredible crew!

Shane and Meghan ready to get after the Polar Bear Doubler!


On April 21st, 2012 Members of the Indianapolis Back on My Feet chapter set out to accomplish a distance many had yet to attain in a race atmosphere. The Manchester Milers had their sites set to complete the second race of their careers and first 8k. Progress House Members Shane, Laurence, Keith, and alumni Member James, along with Team Warman Members Will, Lee, and OuttaSite Mike all had their eyes on the half marathon prize. Non-Resident Members from all three teams were out in full force to support our Members in whatever race they were running that day.The chill of the day saw many PRs for the elite runners as well as many of our BoMF runners!

Half Marathoners all smiles before the race!

Manchester doing a circle up before their 8k

Cheering Janice on home!


One of the volunteer water stops! Thanks to all of our 60+ volunteers for spending your Saturday so BoMF could participate in the Carmel Marathon weekend!

Good lookin' 8k!

What it's about folks! Coach Steve congratulating Milton on his finish.

Keith lookin' good as he finishes his first 1/2 marathon!

Thank you to the Carmel Marathon for once again donating bibs to our Members this year. The Carmel Marathon has been a great supporter of our teams since we launched the chapter and we are grateful for their support year after year! Congratulations to their team for putting on a well organized race!

Shane and Laurence getting ready for the Big Ten Hoops 5k!


Laurence started running with Back on My Feet in February 2012 and has completed several races with the team, each with a better time! We are excited Laurence decided to join our Progress House team and believe he has a bright future!

Running Shoe Size: 8.5

Hometown/Family: Carmel, In

Favorite Athlete: Lawrence Taylor

Favorite post run food:  Apples

Favorite Music: Rock and Roll

What brought you into Progress House? What were you overcoming?

I relapsed last May from a heroin addiction and eventually ended up in rehab after an intervention. Upon completion the counselors suggested I stay at a halfway house. They recommended the Progress House.

Why did you join BoMF?

I joined because I like running. I had run a little bit in the previous year but stopped after I relapsed. I picked it up again while I was in rehab. I ran 3 miles every other day.

What races have you completed with BoMF?

I’ve ran the Legacy Loop 5k, Polar Bear Doubler, Ground Hog 7, Big Ten Hoops 5k, and the Bulldog Jog 5k.

In your spare time, what do you like to do?

I enjoy working out, going to NA mtgs, and going out to eat with my friends.

BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goals):

I want to run a full marathon and maybe run the Boston marathon one day.

Milton and Jen, Marriott Downtown employees, before the start of the B1G Hoops Day 5k

Jen started running with the Progress House team in early January. The cold weather sometimes makes it difficult for some people to commit, but not Jen, she runs every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday with the team since joining. Jen has become the resident photographer and we always look forward to seeing the candid photos she has captured with her Iphone!

Shoe Size: 10

Favorite post-run food: Pancakes-definitely

How many marathons/half marathons have you done?

I have actually only done 2 half marathons so far…but planning on 10 this year, and MAYBE the Monumental Marathon….still debating.

Favorite race you’ve ever done?

My favorite race so far has been the Colorado Half Marathon in Fort Collins (which I did last May).  I trained and ran with a good friend of mine and we dressed up in matching outfits.  It was really fun running through the mountains!

Favorite music:

I like various types of music, but my favorite band (as most know) is Dave Matthews Band.  I’ve been to TONS of shows throughout the years, and look forward to more this summer 

Favorite athlete: Dallas Clark

Favorite vacation spot: Boston!

Why do you run?

I’m really big on routines, so running daily is part of my schedule.  It helps me clear my mind and always puts me in a better mood when I’m not feeling that great.   I run mostly, though, for the health benefits that it provides me.


Most of my family is in the Indianapolis area, except my sister who currently lives in Alabama.  I have a 7 year old Akita named Carter, who is basically the best dog EVER.


Currently, I work at the Indianapolis Marriott Downtown in the Front Office.  I have worked in a hotel for about 10 years (Marriott for 8), since before I graduated from college in 2004.  Recently, I decided to finally go back to school to become a high school social studies teacher, after many years of wanting to do so.  Wish me luck!

Why did you choose Progress House over HVAF?

I actually chose Progress House because it was closer to my home.  The later I can sleep in the morning, the better!

What has BoMF meant to you?

I feel really lucky to have found out about Back on My Feet.  I initially heard about it through my company in May and I was interested, but when I heard about the 5:45 runs, I immediately said no way. Over the next few months I kept thinking about the group, and finally in December I decided that maybe I could run in the morning just one day a week.  After attending orientation, I was really excited and now I can’t imagine NOT showing up! (Thank you Marriott Downtown for sending Jen our way!) It is truly a wonderful group of people and I enjoy spending my mornings with them.  I love seeing how dedicated some of these guys are.  It inspires me.

You have a pretty strong connection with some of the guys, what made it easy to connect with them and why?

Well, for me, I am very social and I really like to get to know each individual and learn about their background.  I bug them in the mornings and ask them what is going on in their lives, etc.  I see them as good friends.

Advice for people who might want to start running with BoMF:

There is no way you will regret it!!  Running together with these guys as a group is a great start to your morning, and the connections that you make are lasting.

Anything else you want to share with readers:

I like quotes, so this is a good one that relates to running and moving forward in life.

“The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.”
-John Bingham

I first met James last March when the Back on My Feet  journey began in Indianapolis. He was one of the  inaugural members. If one thing hasn’t changed about James in the past year, it’s his positive attitude and friendly personality. You don’t feel like a stranger when you meet him and would never guess what he happens to be overcoming in his life.

James was our first Member of the Month last March. He had already started the journey to bring him to where he is today, but since then even more has happened.

I have been fortunate enough to watch James grow throughout this process. I remember some of his first one mile runs and was honored to be able to run his first marathon with him eight short months later.

Beyond running marathons, James has accomplished several other monumental goals, since joining Back on My Feet in March 2011, he has stayed sober, quit smoking, lost weight, purchased a car, moved into his own home and started a new job at BoMF employment partner Gilchrist and Soames.

James is an active Alumni Member of the program and still runs with the team on a regular basis. He is also a strong advocate and has spoke about the program to many different companies and organizations in Indianapolis. 

James speaking as an Alumni Member to a group of AT&T employees!

“Back on My Feet was a much needed catalyst, that propelled me into the realm of self discovery and because of this I’ve allowed myself to heal and love me today.” said James “This opened other avenues by building strong relationships with BoMF staff, residents and non-residents. I can say today that I am very happy with me because of this organization.”

Feeling beat after running one mile.

Feeling fantastic on mile 25 of 26.2. NO JOKE. He was killing it. Nothing beats a good training plan!

James after completing the Monumental Full Marathon.

Before we dig into the DEEP STUFF, let’s learn some of the basics about James:

Running Shoe Size: Size 13 in Asics, 14 in Nike

Hometown/Family: I was born in Detroit, MI. When my twin brother and I were of age my Father retired from GM and moved the family to TN (where he and my mom had met) There were eight children at this time, my younger sister passed away in late June of 2002.

Favorite Restaurant: Pei Wei

Favorite Music: All kinds: Country, House (techo) and Alternative. Depends on my mood.

What brought you into Progress House? What were you overcoming?

I arrived at Progress House, homeless, no family, no friends and I was just released from prison. I had been battling a drug and alcohol addiction for the last 10 years.

Why did you join BoMF?

I joined out of curiosity for starters, I had no clue what was I was in store for. I would be lying if i did not say the incentives had a good part of my reason for joining.

What races have you completed with BoMF?

Too many to name on here! (I’m in awe of that still to this day) COMMITMENT BABY that’s what it is all about. I’ve completed a half marathon and a full marathon—– wow, two of the biggest things I’ve ever done. Number one was GETTING SOBER!

In your spare time, what do you like to do?

Listen to music, read about different religions, ride my bike and sleep.

BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goals):

I have a 50K planned this summer to make it harder it’s on a trail…. to be continued. I would also like to go back to school at the start of next year, or sooner.

Over the past year, what has changed in your life?

So many things have changed this past year. After a one year stay in Prison, living in a local homeless shelter for seven days and spending an additional fourteen months at the Progress House, I now have my own place. I also have a Truck and went from no job to working two jobs! The biggest change in my life is the way I see people and situations. It like I have on a new pair of glasses!

What kinds of trials & obstacles are you still overcoming?

I’m always in a struggle with myself to do better and be better. The biggest thing I can say now is I’m trying to find that happy medium of balance. God has given me all of these great things and I’m trying to juggle them all.

What does running mean to you?

Running gives me peace of mind and serenity. It is also the place where I feel the closest to my higher power. I feel so centered after a good long run. It’s amazing.

If you could give one piece of advice to a reader who is struggling with overcoming addiction what would it be?

Stop trying to recover and RECOVER! If you can be truly honest with yourself and others and want that monkey of your back God will help you. I’m living proof of this and there are many more like me!

Do you feel like you can now be a mentor to others who are battling what you have been through?

I do! In fact I am mentoring a wonderful guy now who used to be a part of BoMF. He asked me one day if I would help him walk through life. I’ve been taught by my mentor, people in BoMF and my recovery friends to never say no to someone who wants help!

What are some accomplishments are you most proud of?

Obtaining my own place to live… I have never had my own place before.  Running a full marathon, the hard part was training for it. I would not change it for the world.

Another big step for me was the opportunity to make amends to the victim of why I went to prison. We are now the best friends we can be to each other and he is under counseling. I am truly grateful to have had this chance to be a part of the human race today, not just existing, but living.

All time favorite BoMF memory?

Beth and I were at mile nine of our first half marathon and I was losing steam. She noticed and asked me if I knew any Donna Summer songs. I said yes- “I will survive”. She took the serenity prayer and sang it to the tune of I will survive all the way home! I will never forget that, it makes me want to cry just thinking about it. That is how awesome this program has been to me. I have made great friends, forever.