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Fitness Challenge honors veterans while keeping them active and informed

FLOWOOD, Miss. (WLBT) – The Jackson VA is getting a head start on its tribute to veterans on Thursday, keeping them active and informed. The second annual Veterans Fitness and Wellness Challenge put them together and included a new element on healthy lifestyles.

Army veteran Steve Criddell didn’t line dance during the Veterans Fitness and Wellness Challenge, but the 67-year-old knows movement is medicine.

“You stay active for better health,” the Brandon resident said.

He suffered from partial paralysis on his right side and says a few months of therapy and exercises restored his mobility.

“It made me more flexible. I can move much better,” Criddell said. “I was on a walker. Now I use a cane. So yes, it definitely helped me.

The Jackson Veterans Administration’s Department of Recreational Therapy launched the Fitness Challenge to honor vets through activity and engagement.

“I wanted to do something different, have fun, enjoy and interact with my other veterans,” Army veteran Matrivee Lewis said.

This is the 51-year-old’s second year.

“It’s good. It’s good to be active. It’s healthy. It’s supportive,” Lewis said. “It helps your mind and body, and I really appreciated that.”

A nutrition seminar was added to this year’s event held at the Flowood YMCA. The focus was on healthy food choices. Flu and COVID shots were available as well as information for veterans about registering with VA Healthcare. It also included information on fitness and wellness.

“I just hope they keep going and more people come out next year,” Lewis added.

The Center for Development and Civic Engagement offered a special lunch to veterans to close the day’s activities.

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