Freedom Miles encourages Ellsworth families to stay healthy

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Jarad A. Denton
  • 28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
Officials from the Ellsworth Air Force Base Airman and Family Readiness Center and base fitness center are sponsoring a 14-week program called Freedom Miles designed to encourage the spouses of deployed Airmen to stay active during the military members' deployment.

Freedom Miles kicked off with a spin-a-thon class taught by Senior Airman Tamiya Skinner, a 28th Force Support Squadron fitness specialist, at the fitness center Feb. 2.

"The spin-a-thon is designed to get people excited about Freedom Miles," Airman Skinner said. "It's a two-hour spin class that earns spouses 200 miles toward their goal."

Spouses of deployed Airmen will also receive 150 miles for attending a fitness special event, as well as 100 miles for hour-long classes and 50 miles for a half-hour classes at the fitness center. Participants can pick up pedometers from the Health and Wellness center on base, which can be used to track how many steps they take. For every 10,000 steps, spouses will earn 75 miles toward their goal.

The fitness center will keep a logbook at the front desk where spouses can log their progress. The miles they earn will be displayed on a map that indicates how close they are to their spouse's deployed location. Prizes will be awarded every time a spouse reaches a major city marked on the map.

The Freedom Miles program was an idea developed by Lori Waddell, a spouse of a servicemember assigned to the 28th FSS, as a way to stay active during her husband's deployment.

"It's a good way stay healthy and get to know new people," she said.

Mrs. Waddell said the idea originally occurred to her when her friends would go on walks. She began to wonder how many miles she would have to walk to reach her husband, who was deployed at the time. Eventually, the idea blossomed into a way to keep the spouses of deployed Airmen active during a deployment.

She said she is happy her idea has grown from a few friends to a basewide friendly competition.

The competition is scheduled to run until May 3.