Several thousand have already committed to meeting Maj. Gen. Peter Vangjel, post commander, Nov. 25 at 1:30 p.m. on the field across the street from the Fort Sill Federal Credit Union and to taking part in the Community Fitness Walk.

The walk is targeted to the post schools and employees, Soldiers and family members on post but the plan is to have it spread to Lawton and area towns. The walk is part of the CG's Challenge -- Western Miles program in conjunction with the Fit Kids Coalition, one of the initiatives of the Army Community Covenant.

Post civilians are allowed to participate in the walk, although the post mission is to stay operational.

Col. Robert Bridgford sent an e-mail to post directors which stated, "The CG's Challenge Walk on Nov. 25 is a great opportunity to get restarted on a workout program, or to begin one for the first time. I encourage all of you to...encourage your folks to participate. Understanding, of course, that our mission is to run base operations, I expect all directors to ensure we meet mission first, but to encourage all others to take the challenge and walk. I have coordinated with the Staff Judge Advocate and Civilian Personnel Office to make sure those civilians that participate have the Cedar Lakes Walking track as their place of work."

Maj. Gen. Peter Vangjel will lead the community walk, a single coordinated and collaborative event across Southwest Oklahoma, at 1:30 p.m. with on-post students from Geronimo and Sheridan Road Elementary Schools.

Fort Sill Boulevard on post will be shut down for the walk, which will begin with Vangjel's remarks at 1:30 p.m. the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. The commanding general will speak briefly to Soldiers, DA civilians, family members and Co-Op partners from downtown who take up the challenge to participate in the fit and healthy walk.

The walk route will go east on Thomas Road to Fort Sill Boulevard, and south on Fort Sill Boulevard past the bridge before Scott Gate, where they will turn west on the back part of the Cedar Lakes Walking Trail and follow the trail to Sheridan Road School, where all on-post school children will peel off from the group to return to their schools. The rest of the walkers will continue on the track back to Mow-Way Road where they will walk back to their vehicles to finish the route. The route is about three miles long.

Vangjel is expecting a large turnout for the event, especially from the post schools.

"I would like to point out that parents who have children in on-post schools that decide to participate will still have to pick their child up from school after the event because all children must go back to their school so they can be accounted for before leaving the school for the day," said Brenda Spencer-Ragland, director of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation.
Downtown business with the Co-Op program, are also invited to participate in the walk. "If your school or business downtown can not participate in the walk on Fort Sill, they are still asked to set aside some time for meeting or assembly focusing on education and awareness for healthy lifestyles and do a walk at their location in support of the event," said Spencer-Ragland.

The commanding general has challenged the Fort Sill community, Soldiers, family members and civilians, to get fit through the Commanding General's Challenge Western Miles. The challenge is for individuals to walk or run 100, 300, 600 or 1,000 miles and for families and teams to run or walk 1,200 miles. Vangjel will recognize those Soldiers, families and civilians who decide to take the challenge in a quarterly ceremony for their accomplishments.

"The CG's Challenge is about promoting health and fitness for our leaders, Soldiers, families as well as all members of the Lawton community. This generation's children are the first group of kids that may not outlive their parents. Child obesity is on the rise across our nation, and educational performance and achievement are trending downward. As we look to the future, I believe these conditions pose a national security issue if we don't do something about it," said Vangjel. "Dr. Ben Cooper, Dr. Ed Legako, Dr. Ron Cagle and so many other concerned citizens that have undertaken a grand task<m>the Southwest OK Fit Kids Coalition. LPS is changing menus and encouraging fitness...because, it has been proven that kids who are fit and exercise, on the whole are more attentive, more positive, and are more likely to be better students."

Vangjel said it is his hope that the CG's Challenge and the SWOK Fit Kids Coalition join forces to promote fitness throughout the entire Lawton-Fort Sill community and surrounding communities.
"You don't have to run or walk 100 miles in a certain amount of time. We are trying to make people more aware about the benefits of exercise and make it a natural part of everyday life," said Janice Brim, CG's Challenge marketing assistant.

Spencer-Ragland said MWR will look at ways to tie in physical fitness and proper nutrition with all MWR events.

The challenge is another initiative through the Army Community Covenant to assist all post residents and employees as well as those in the surrounding communities to get and stay fit and healthy. To sign up for the challenge, stop by Goldner or Honeycutt Fitness Centers or the Youth Center to pick up the free pedometer and a log to keep track of the miles. Western Miles is online at www.sillmwr.com

For more information about the CG's Challenge -- Western Miles, call 442-0955.

Page last updated Thu November 13th, 2008 at 13:00