Cherry Creek and Binghamton Residents Honored for Contributions to a Healthier New York

July 12, 2007 - Three New Yorkers are among seven individuals honored nationwide for their efforts in helping Americans live longer, healthier lives.

Bruce and Brenda Hendricks of Cherry Creek in Chautauqua County and Alan Wilmarth of Binghamton were recently recognized at awards ceremonies in Seattle for their efforts in support of "Steps to a HealthierUS," an initiative of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services coordinated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The New York State Department of Health funds "Steps to a HealthierNY" initiatives in Jefferson and Rockland counties in addition to Broome and Chautauqua.

The Hendricks received the "Steps Community Heroes Award – 2007" for their efforts to build a walking trail in Cherry Creek Memorial Park. As members of the Cherry Creek Business and Community Association, the couple successfully secured funding to build the trail and then recruited nearly 150 area residents to actively use it. Their efforts have resulted in more than 34 million steps being logged by users of the trail.

Wilmarth won the award for his work in connection with a Broome County walking program called BC Walks. He has inspired more than 50,000 local residents to join him in a formal walking program under "Steps to a HealthierNY." His walks have been featured in the program's widely viewed "Where's Wilmarth Walking" series broadcast weekly on the local news. Wilmarth has provided more than 200 hours of volunteer service to the program by participating in walks and media events, and as a guest presenter at Steps-related programs.

Wilmarth said he was overweight and had high blood pressure and high cholesterol when he started his walking regimen in 2003 after his employer began participating in BC Walks. By gradually building a steady routine, he said he lost 60 pounds, he no longer needs blood pressure medicine, and his cholesterol level has been significantly reduced.

Through the "Steps to a HealthierNY" program, the State Health Department provides support, evaluation and technical assistance to help local organizations implement community- and school-based programs that focus on reducing obesity, diabetes, and asthma by addressing three risk factors – physical inactivity, poor nutrition, and tobacco use.

Additional information about "Steps to a HealthierNY" can be accessed at the New York State Department of Health Web site:

www.health.ny.gov/prevention/prevention_agenda/