A few years ago some folks at your favorite Montgomery County daily came up with a silly idea called The Challenge. It was a roughly based on the TV show, The Biggest Loser. To boil it down, we thought we could get a group of folks together, lose some weight and raise some money for a good cause, all at the same time.
Truth to tell, the program worked out pretty well in years one and two. But this year . . . wow! This year’s group is simply knocking it out of the park.
First off, let me begin with explaining that this is the largest group we’ve had. There are 16 participants this year. In alphabetical order, they are: Clay Adams, Gary Behling, Abbey Bullerdick, Neil Burk, Dr. Atul Chug, Stacey Hawkins, Lee Ann Hutson, Danielle Kinkead, Barry Lewis, Brad Monts, Karen Monts, Missi Patton, Sandy Ramos, John Roche, Martha Swick and Emily Toomey.
What sets them apart? Well first, attendance. With very few exceptions, these guys are pretty darn close to 100 percent attendance every week. In addition to that, a bunch of them get together and hit the gym on additional days. Believe me when I tell you, that hasn’t been the case the first couple of years.
The second thing is results. Speaking as a guy who’s been through the highs and lows of trying to lose weight, I can attest to how discouraging it gets at times. I would share the secret, but the truth is, there is no secret. It simply takes showing up time after time. It takes making the decision to go to the gym instead of sitting on the couch. Believe me when I tell you how tempting it is to blow off a workout and stay home.
These guys aren’t doing that. At all. And their results are showing it. One of them has lost almost 7 percent of his body weight. Half the group is well above 2 percent – and this is only through the first part of the program! According to people much smarter than I, the second half is when some real numbers start adding up.
If you haven’t followed this yet, the standings are in The Paper on Thursdays. In addition, we should soon have more on our website and you can surf over there and follow the participants individually.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t also thank the two other fine sponsors of The Challenge, Athena Sport & Fitness and Franciscan Health Crawfordsville. Gang, if there are two better fitness partners around, then I surely have not met them. The great folks at Athena provide the expertise on how to get results – and perhaps even more importantly, they provide the emotional support to get folks through the tough times involved. And Franciscan? These amazing people continue to step up time and time and time again for our community. The Little Paper That Could is honored to work with such wonderful groups!
The Challenge ’17 wraps up on March 18 – so if you see any of the folks named above, give them a pat on the back and a word of encouragement or two. If you’ve ever been on a weight loss journey, you know how tough the halfway point is.
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ON ANOTHER subject, the Notable Nineties continue to pour in. We’ve had several more added to the list, including one who will be celebrating her 90th Thursday! Jean Friend Chadwick turns 90 on Feb. 16. Jean’s children have planned an Open House in her honor this Sunday in the basement of the Crawfordsville Library from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. They hope friends will attend and bring cards! (Psst. And while we’re talking about Jean, don’t tell anyone but Delmas Chadwick turns 90 on May 20.)
Back to our new additions, Helen L. Clark turned 100 on Dec. 12, joining Elsie Allen and Earl Luzader as our official Centenarians so far! Alice Harris is a Notable Ninety and has another birthday coming up in April. Leonard Mitchell, Becky Degitz and John Lofland are all now on the list as well.
Thanks to all of you for giving me the privilege of including you in our list! And if you are 90 or above (or know someone who is) and would like to be included please let me know!

Two cents, which is about how much Timmons said his columns are worth, appears periodically on Tuesdays in The Paper. Timmons is the publisher of The Paper and can be contacted at ttimmons@thepaper24-7.com.