NCDPS Team Named State Employee Wellness Challenge Champions

People standing in two rows with one in the middle holding a trophy
Friday, June 21, 2019 - 11:32am

The Proclaimers sang about walking 500 miles and Vanessa Carlton said she’d walk 1,000, but teams who participated in the spring Miles for Wellness Challenge walked a whole lot more! For eight weeks at the start of spring, 432 teams of ten people or less competed to see who could collectively walk the farthest. The distance of each team was measured on a virtual map from steps reported by participants. 

The biannual competition coordinated by the Office of State Human Resources sparked friendly competition between state government agencies and encouraged participating state employees to engage in some form of physical activity during their free time. The challenge is one of OSHR’s worksite wellness initiatives to promote a healthy workforce that can serve the people of North Carolina to the best of their abilities. 

Though the winning team only scored bragging rights and a pat on the back, around 40 teams made up of NC Department of Public Safety personnel from a variety of divisions stepped up to the challenge to compete for the title of champion. DPS employees got creative with their team names by either playing off their division like “Sippin & Steppin’ 2” (ABC Commission), incorporating the challenge railroad theme like “Loco Motives” (Central Prison) or by adding humor like “Lost in Pace” (Human Resources). 

In the end, a team of NC Emergency Management personnel named “NCEM Los Loco’s” took the crown. Altogether, the team reported 14,146,989 steps, which evened out to be 7,073 miles. Kevin Kasai, NCEM Los Loco’s captain, said that the team was comprised of overachievers, which was one of the main components that led to their success.

“We tried to pull a diverse group of people together for the team,” Kasai said. “We set a daily goal for all members and most of us made that goal or tried our best. People on our team love to hike and do outdoor projects, so they kept on moving.”

Kasai also said that NCEM Los Loco’s kept each other accountable and encouraged team members throughout the challenge.

Katherine Hilliard, OSHR Statewide Wellness Coordinator, said that participation for this challenge increased from last year and that she and her team hoped that the trend continued for the fall Miles for Wellness Challenge. 

At the end of this challenge, the step count for all participating teams totaled 2,091,324,721, or 1,045,663 miles. In other words, that’s 42 times around the Earth or a little over two round trips to the moon.


Main image is winning team NCEM Los Loco's members Jessica Southwell, Paul Bjornsen, Kevin Kasai, Ryan Kenny, Alexandera Chavis, Dawn Wedig, Josh Modlin, Aaron Brown, Carly Sherrod and Greg Hauser.

Kirsten Barber