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GET OUT AND GIVE BACK/Mayor Euille: Get Fit, Alexandria!

Jane Hess Collins
By Jane Hess Collins
Posted on Nov 30,2010
Filed Under News , Community,
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Stretch, and eat right, says Mayor Euille, who lost 60 pounds last year.
Stretch, and eat right, says Mayor Euille, who lost 60 pounds last year.

ALEXANDRIA, VA. - Jerry Hill accomplished the impossible last Wednesday during Mayor Bill Euille’s Unity Breakfast at the Hilton Mark Center.
 
He made me want to exercise. Every lunge, barbell and spinning class for me is solely a means to stay in my skinny jeans, but Hill made exercise fun again.

The breakfast, first initiated by the newly-elected Mayor Euille in 2003, has become an annual tradition.
 
Anyone in Alexandria may come to the mayor’s annual unity breakfast, said co-chair Nancy McCormick. Breakfast committee member Angela Pryor opened the event, followed by the presentation of colors and Pledge of Allegiance led by the TC Williams’ Junior ROTC Color Guard.
 
News 4’s Jane Watrel served as the mistress of ceremony and Ebenezer Baptist Church’s Minister Becky Mays Jenkins led the invocation and benediction.
 
Students from Jefferson-Houston Elementary School created the table centerpieces and energized the crowd before Hill took center stage as the keynote speaker for the “One Healthy Alexandria” theme.

First Hill, the owner of Cross Fit Old Town, told us all to stand up.
 
We knew that we–about 300 of us-were in for some troub…er, fun.
 
Stretch, he implored us.
 
And we stretched and rolled our shoulders back and forth then sat back down, armed with an excuse to dive into the breakfast pastries.

But Hill would have none of it. Form teams of three, he commanded us from the podium, and do as many pushups as you can, one team member at a time, in three minutes.

Seriously.

Dominion Power’s team of three muscled over 200 pushups, and that morning they were the fittest organization in Alexandria.

If the goal is “One Healthy Alexandria,” Hill challenged the crowd, then we must identify the obstacles and solutions toward that goal.
 
While some of the solutions must come from the community-offer healthier food in Alexandria’s schools (40 percent of Alexandria’s kids are obese) and provide plenty of safe, outdoor activities, most of the changes need to come from within us.

Fortunately, said Euille, those changes can be small.
 
Euille himself lost 60 pounds in under a year so he could walk the walk, so to speak, for a fit Alexandria. Take a walk when you’re on the phone, Euille advised. Turn off the TV once a week and do yard work. Cut down-not out-that sugary good stuff.
 
“Learn to love to move,” Hill dared the crowd. Work out in a variety of ways to keep it fresh and challenge yourself. Find a workout buddy “to share in the suffering.” Competition raises the bar for everyone, he said, and documenting results lets you celebrate your successes.

John Porter, executive director of ACT for Alexandria, offered a different challenge to the crowd, asking them to “think beyond the holiday season.”
 
Alexandrians are generous, Porter said, and sometimes it’s hard to see the community’s needs, given the richness of Alexandria’ heritage, legacy and diversity. But, nearly 60 percent of Alexandria’s kids are eligible for free or reduced lunch, and community need is year-round.

Like exercise, giving can be worked into a routine and small steps can make a big difference.



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