Pvt. 2 Rolando Balabis from Alpha Company, 832nd Ordnance Battalion, leads an exercise station during a Jan. 22 Family Fitness Night at Harrowgate Elementary School in Chester.

CHESTER (Jan. 31, 2013) -- A bunch of eager Harrowgate Elementary School students hopped, ran and jumped their way through a special fitness event on Jan. 22 that included volunteer Soldiers from Alpha Company, 832nd Ordnance Battalion.

The gathering in the nearby town of Chester was an opportunity for the ordnance company Soldiers to show off their fitness moves while promoting a healthier lifestyle among the students and faculty at the learning facility.

"This was an experience I'll never forget," said Pvt. Sierra Evans, a 20-year-old advanced individual training student from Chicago, who had just finished showing two youths how weights help build strong muscles. "Working with children is always fun. They are so strong, and they never quit."

The annual Family Health, Safety and Fitness Night included multiple training stations throughout the school where students performed sit-ups, push-ups, ladders (an agility exercise) and multiple cardio workouts. The instruction also included nutrition and general health reminders.

Alpha Company's involvement in the event was facilitated by Staff Sgt. Fatimah Warren, a cadre member for the Ordnance School and an avid member of Harrowgate's Parent Teacher Association. She was involved in the planning of fitness night and recognized the advantages of bringing young students and Fort Lee Soldiers together.

"Obesity in children is extremely high," Warren said. "They need that motivation to be more active, and who better than Soldiers -- one of the most physically fit groups in the country -- to give them that drive? Hopefully, it's the encouragement they need to be more active."

Much like the participating youths, the volunteer Soldiers were amped with excitement as they assisted with each activity. They later admitted they were quite impressed by the amount of energy the students had at their exercise stations. Pvt. Mark Frayre from San Antonio, Texas, said, "It made me feel great that schools are pushing kids to stay healthy, and that the parents are doing their part to help their kids as well."

Making fitness fun is the best motivation for both kids and Soldiers, Warren noted, and the "gators" of Alpha Company look forward to future volunteer activities at Harrowgate to promote health and safety among the eager students.

Page last updated Thu January 31st, 2013 at 00:00