More than 500 Postal Service employees completed Arizona-New Mexico District’s third annual Tortoise and Hare Fitness Challenge in 2021 — a nearly 40 percent increase from 2020.
The 36-week program offered community support, recognition, tips and prizes as participants sought to increase exercise, reach and maintain a healthy weight, improve blood pressure and more.
The effort was run by an eight-member challenge committee led by Timothy Pereida, the district’s finance manager.
All told, 507 of the district’s postal employees took part in the challenge.
At the end of the 36 weeks, three were chosen at random to attend a luncheon with Pereida, District Manager John Morgan, West Valley Plant Manager Yolanda Stenson and Mesa, AZ, Postmaster Dominic DeMartino.
Pereida said he was proud of the way the committee did its best to make the challenge “fun and educational,” and praised participants for providing “the fuel that kept the committee motivated and encouraged — not missing a beat as a team for the entire 36-week duration.”
The three participants chosen for the luncheon were Kenrick M. Arnold, a district safety specialist; Margaret M. Sullivan, a Phoenix mail processing clerk; and Betty Yung, a Phoenix maintenance mechanic; and each shared favorite aspects of the challenge.
For Yung, the health tips she received from weekly emails were a highlight, as were the group’s shared recipes.
Arnold also appreciated the recipes and enjoyed watching friends win prizes for their efforts, while Sullivan found the accountability required by weekly reporting to be particularly helpful.
As Pereida noted in his remarks, the challenge helped boost morale as much as fitness.
“Throughout all of the challenges brought by the pandemic, it was important to keep health and wellness and employee engagement as one of our priorities,” Pereida said.