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Tallassee Elementary School students during
the annual "Walk to School Day" in 2014

City promotes "Healthy Families Initiative"

By Michael Butler

The City of Tallassee in partnership with Tallassee City Schools is kicking off the Healthy Families Initiative on Monday, Oct. 29 at City Hall.

"This summer some of us went to a workshop in Montevallo sponsored by America Walks and some other organizations," Suzannah Solomon Wilson stated. "The workshop was all about how to make your community more walkable. So, we had some hands on experience walking through Montevallo.

"We had some assessments of our town, got to map out where sidewalks are, where we needs sidewalks and what's the most traveled route. They asked us to come up with different ideas that we could do in our town to make the town more walkable and encourage the people to walk."

Wilson, whose husband Darrell is a councilman, said that councilman Terrel Brown was instrumental in the initiative due to his work as a P.E. teacher at Tallassee Elementary School and its 50 mile and 100 mile clubs.

"We decided we'd extend that 100-mile challenge to the entire community, to all ages. We're lining it up with the school calendar. We're asking people to walk, bike, ride or get into wheelchair or scooter and get out in town and go 100 miles between now and mid-May."

Wilson is avid with daily exercise herself.

"I grew up with parents who were probably the only bike riders in Tallassee. When we were growing up, we rode our bikes everywhere. I picked up (walking) myself when my daddy was sick because it was a big stress reliever. I enjoy walking in town because I like to look and see whose yards have flowers in it or clothes on the line."

Mayor Johnny Hammock is serious too about being active.

"My wife and I try to walk a lot, especially outside. You can park at the rec center and walk across the river to the East Tallassee Church of Christ and back, and it's almost four miles. It takes about an hour. It's nice with the new sidewalks in East Tallassee.

"Everybody knows I was a large guy. I used to be 400 pounds. I now weigh 214. I have been down to 197. I try to watch my carbohydrate intake and keep it down with my protein intake up. The leading cause of death in the United States is heart disease. The leading cause of heart disease is obesity. I was obese for over half of my life. I'm down right now, and I want to try and keep it down."

Michelle Cole enjoys the Tallassee Riverwalk shortly after it opened in 2014

Wilson recommends that people come to the Monday event and make the commitment.

"We have our nature trail. We have the riverwalk," she said. "If you're over 21, you can go to the school board office and sign up for a key fob to walk at the football field."

Hammock agreed. "A lot of the subdivisions, Noble - Kim and I walk it all the time. It's good cardio. Be careful with your tennis shoes. These Brooks are about $120. You're only supposed to put about 300 miles on a pair of tennis shoes."

Wilson pointed out that walking five miles per week equals about 20 miles per month for hitting the 100-mile mark next spring.

Registration forms for the Healthy Families Initiative will be available to sign on Monday from 5:30 - 6:30 p.m.

"We're going to walk from City Hall to the Church of Christ and back. That's a mile. We're asking people to wear their Halloween costumes if they want," Solomon concluded.

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