The Kentucky Employees' Health Plan is featuring Champions who are dedicated ambassadors in health and wellness. These individuals strive to increase engagement, make healthier choices and inspire others while utilizing the benefits and tools KEHP has provided.
July 2018- DJ Riggs
Our Spotlight Champion for July is DJ Riggs. DJ is a school guidance counselor/PE teacher at Ben Johnson Elementary School (BJES). DJ is passionate about health and wellness because he wants people to have a better quality of life. His parents did not take care of their health and both passed away at younger ages. DJ does not want to follow in those same footsteps and wants to be around to meet his future grandkids someday. DJ is also passionate about health and wellness because he survived a car wreck while in college and his doctors told him that being in great shape was one of the main reasons that he survived. Instead of just forming his physique to be very muscular, DJ’s goals are now to live longer and to improve his quality of life.
DJ has received many grants that gives his school the resources it needs to implement health and wellness programs. DJ promotes the Go365 program at his school and within his district by creating healthy challenges every month. He also helps members with their Go365 accounts and shares ways for them to earn more Go365 Points/Bucks. The local gym has a beacon set up for members to get points for attending. DJ is coming up on his seventh straight year of organizing the 5K and one mile run at the Hoedown Day Festival in Hardinsburg, Ky. He leads the BJES Get Fit Team whose mission is to help promote health and wellness to the school and county. He leads the “Wildcat Crew” which is a running club for the school. He has implemented Breakfast Smoothie Friday at the school to help get students excited about breakfast. He leads the Jump Rope for Heart campaign to help raise money for the American Heart Association.
DJ has reached Go365 Platinum Status. He has purchased a Fitbit Surge and believes that without the Go365 Bucks, he would not have made the purchase. His favorite wellness activity is cycling. DJ’s inspiration to others is to “put in the work today that others won’t, so tomorrow you can accomplish what others can’t.”
Previous Spotlight Champion Stories
Our Spotlight Champion for June is Jarred Winebarger. Jarred works in the Madison County School system, where he serves as a third grade teacher. Jarred is passionate about health and wellness because he has three young children that he enjoys being active with and plans to lead them along a healthy journey. He and his wife participate in local races including 5Ks, 10Ks, mini-marathons, and even obstacle races.
Jarred encourages faculty and staff to engage in wellness initiatives in the school. Teachers can participate in after school exercising classes where the focus is on high intensity interval training, circuit training, and Tabata style classes. Weekly step challenges are available to the teachers as well. The students get to participate in a program called “Fit-Friday,” where members from the community such as the YMCA, Zumba, yoga, and kick boxing instructors come in and lead exercises. They have also had the Eastern Kentucky University’s football and girls’ soccer team join in on leading exercises for the students. Jarred would love to train for another mini marathon, initiate new wellness opportunities for students and possibly start an exercise class at his church in order to reach out to more people in his community.
Jarred has reached Go365 Platinum status. He and his wife both have Fitbits that they were able to get using their Go365 Bucks. They spend most of their Bucks on Amazon gift cards to purchase Christmas presents. Jarred inspiration to others is to stay consistent. “Consistency is key.”
Our Spotlight Champion for May is Rhonda Mann. Rhonda works at the Department of Education where she serves as the Human Resource Administrator. Rhonda is very passionate about health and wellness because she enjoys exercising, whether it be working in the yard, going to the fitness center or simply walking. It makes her feel better both mentally and physically. Rhonda also enjoys eating healthy and exercising.
Rhonda not only provides wellness opportunities for the Kentucky Department of Education employees, she also includes the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet employees as well. She has scheduled several health clinics to allow employees to complete the health assessment. A chiropractor and an optional insurance agent were present at the events in case employees wanted to receive information on their services. A Diabetes Prevention Program class also takes place once a week in their building.
Rhonda has reached Go365 platinum status. Her favorite items to purchases with her Go365 bucks are Lowes gift cards and fitness devices. Rhonda’s inspiration to others is “Do some type of fitness activity every day whether it be walking, running or even meditating. Just do something for yourself.”
Our Spotlight Champion for April is Maureen Travers. Maureen works at the Office of the Attorney General where she serves as the Human Resource Specialist. She also serves as the wellness point of contact for her agency. Maureen is very passionate about health and wellness because she has four fun and active grandchildren that she would like to continuously do fun things with. “I feel better when I’m healthy, but even more importantly, I’m able to keep up and go on the best adventures with them.” Maureen’s favorite activity is hiking but one of her goals this year is to get back in the water, along with tracking her food intake and not overdoing it on the fats.
Serving as the wellness point of contact for her agency, Maureen schedules “biometric screening” events every year at the Capitol and at their east location. She encourages all of her employees to participate in statewide challenges, and she pushes for their individual offices to have challenges amongst themselves. Maureen schedules appointments with her employees, and she goes to their desk with a “get moving gift” like stretch bands, various exercises, and exercise DVDs. She shows them all the ins and outs of working the Go365 programs, connecting devices, partnered gyms, and setting goals. Maureen also keeps all of her employees up to date with the latest health and wellness information, and is always available to discuss any aspect of their wellness life.
Maureen has reached Go365 Platinum status and has recently spent some of her Go365 Bucks on a new Fitbit Flex 2. She purchased a new Kayak so she needed a fitness device that worked well on the water. “I choose to be happy; therefore, I must choose to be healthy.”
Our Spotlight Champion for March is Shellie Wingate. Shellie works at the Kentucky Department for Public Health/Health Promotion Branch, where she serves as the Kentucky Healthy Communities Program Administrator. Shellie’s passion for wellness comes from being a former dancer/ballerina along with the interest of understanding how impactful strength and conditioning can have on performance. While attending the University of Kentucky, Shellie discovered her love for nutrition. After earning a degree in nutrition, Shellie spent the beginning of her career working in nutrition research at the University of Kentucky. “Nutrition research is still a relatively new field compared to other sciences so I feel like we are just beginning to understand the different ways food can affect our body.” Because of Shellie’s interest in wellness, she became a certified personal trainer and a certified health coach. Shellie’s goals are to improve on her skills with helping people improve their health and mobility through eating better and exercising. Shellie is also a fully recognized lifestyle coach for the National Diabetes Prevention Program. Shellie has reached Go365 Gold status and loves to spend her Bucks on Amazon gift cards.
Our Spotlight Champion for February is Nancy Piatt. Nancy works at the Fayette County Clerk’s office in Lexington, where she serves as the Human Resources Manager. Nancy is passionate about health and wellness because she does not believe in aging gracefully. She believes that eating healthy and staying active will give an individual a better shot at living a healthier life. Wellness challenges for employees at the Fayette County Clerk’s office in Lexington started over a year ago. The challenges started small but gradually grew with the success of each challenge. The employees participate in events such as weekly sessions of chair-yoga and stretches (Meditation Monday), 30-minute walks on Wednesday (Walking Wednesday), Ted Talk Tuesdays for “brain wellness” and many spotlight events too. Some of the spotlight events focus on getting to know each other a little better. Employees have had board-game days where they could eat lunch together, play games, and have fun together to boost morale. Guest speakers have talked about “Knowing your Numbers” and linked that to the biometric screening results and a rep from Deferred Comp for a “financial fitness” seminar. In conjunction with the LivingWell Promise, the health department comes in every year for biometric screenings, and this year over 70% of eligible employees signed up. Nancy has been a gym rat for most of her life. She lifts weights 4x a week. She recently achieved a goal she set for herself of completing 50 straight pushups in a row. Nancy has reached Bronze status and she loves to spend her Bucks on the gift cards. Her inspiration to others is simple, “Keep Moving.”
Our Spotlight Champion for January is Hayley Franklin. Hayley works at the Three Rivers District Health Department where she serves as the Community Health Educator. Hayley is very passionate about health and wellness because she believes taking care of yourself physically is one of the most gratifying things we can do. No matter your status, gender, or race, Hayley believes that each person has the right to have full control of his or her health. Hayley is a constant motivator to others and loves to hear people tell her, "thank you, for motivating me to get healthy."
Within her role as the Community Health Educator, Haley creates and maintains challenges for employees. They are constantly in motion. When one challenge is ending, another one is starting. Winners from the challenges receive certificates in front of the entire staff. Employees who surpass to another level receive Go365 buttons.
Hayley participated in the Twany Beckham 30- day challenge and picked as one of the Grand Prize Winners. She has already begun training for this coming Kentucky Derby Marathon and plans to complete the entire race. Hayley has reached platinum status and loves her Brooks running shoes that she was able to purchase with her Go365 bucks. Hayley says, "I will never regret a workout but I will regret skipping one."
Our Spotlight Champion for December is Jackie Cole. Jackie works at the Pike County Health Department where he serves as the Environmental Health Director. Jackie’s motivation with wellness comes from always being told that he was fat and his blood work results usually over the high side of normal. He is now an avid runner who has ran over 5,000 miles and is closing in on his 41st consecutive month of 100 or more miles per month. Jackie has reached Platinum status and over the last 3 years, has earned over $1,500 in Amazon gift cards by utilizing the Go365 program. Part of Jackie’s job at the Health Department is to set up and help conduct biometric screening events (BMI, Cholesterol, Glucose, & Blood Pressure). In doing the biometric screenings, Jackie found himself puzzled over the health conditions of the individuals he was seeing. He decided to take matters into his own hands. Jackie got started with Belfry High School and its feeder schools. Over the summer, he formed a group to try to combat the health issues with KEHP members in Pike County. This group started out with about 50 members who had access to a private Facebook group to exchange wellness idea, learn about diet and exercise and participate in daily challenges. Members in this group also encouraged other KEHP members to join in the activities. Another Biometric Screening event for members took place at the end of the summer. As he had hoped, the individuals who participated in the group had really changed their lifestyle. Jackie and his team saw biometric screening numbers changed in a positive way. Many great friendships formed and there was quite a buzz in the school community about the Belfry County Go365 group. Jackie’s goals are to continue to get healthier, make even better food choices, tighten up his core and be the best possible runner that he can be. “In the end, it’s your run and yours alone. Others can run it with you, but no one can run it for you. In Pike County, I am willing to “run it” with anyone that desires my help, but in the end, they have to be the one that chooses to make that lifestyle change.” – Jackie Cole
Our Spotlight Champion for November is Michelle Heightchew. Michelle works in Human Resources at the Kentucky Department of Corrections-Luther Luckett Correctional Complex (LLCC), where her main focus is in recruitment and staff wellness. Having a passion for health and wellness, Michelle has been highly involved in Go365 for several years now and has become a top ambassador for the program.
Michelle says that her overall wellness goal is "to be the best
me possible...physically, mentally and emotionally." Each day for her is a new day to find innovative ways that keep her on this wellness path. Before finding the support and encouragement she now receives from both KEHP and Go365, her weight had reached an all-time high of 300 lbs. Michelle now credits her 150 lb. weight loss and her positive attitude to these two programs. "In living a healthier life, I have become so much more efficient at home and at work." When Michelle recently had some health setbacks, she credits the learning tools and resources that were available to her through KEHP for getting her back on the right track.
Michelle takes full advantage of the Go365 program and all that it has to offer. For instance, she was able to purchase her Fitbit by using her Go365 Bucks and finds that she enjoys competing in the many challenges Go365 has to offer. As a strong advocate of KEHP's resources and programs, she introduces them to all incoming staff at her workplace. With her recent new position at LLCC, she has the opportunity to create and facilitate a staff wellness program.
Michelle believes that each individual should "focus on creating and practicing good habits . . . motivation only gets you started."