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From fitness to philanthropy

Photo by Hugh Osteen

Photo by Hugh Osteen

By Jason A. Smith

jsmith@henryherald.com

Three generations of women in a Henry County family have been inspired by their weight-loss successes to increase their involvement in efforts to help others.

Kay Buice, 67, of Stockbridge, completed the All American 5k walk in Peachtree City Saturday, along with her daughter, Becky Buice Hall, and granddaughter, Christa Buice.

The Peachtree City event is the latest effort the women have engaged in, to support others. The All American 5K walk was held to raise funds for U.S. Army Lt. Dan Berschinski, who lost both of his legs to an explosion in Afghanistan in August of 2009. The event, sponsored by the Peachtree Running Club, included six weeks of training, and culminated with the 5K walk.

"I think it's always good to do something for somebody else," Kay Buice said.

The Buice trio began participating in walking events in March of 2009, after being introduced to the concept by a Weight Watchers leader at a group meeting in Stockbridge. Since their first walking event, Buice and her family have taken part in events that include the Pacemaker 5000, sponsored by Southern Heart Specialists; the Rotary Club of Henry County's Jingle Jog, and the Run for the Bun, benefiting the Henry County Pregnancy Resource Center in McDonough.

"Basically, we look for local things, but I've never seen one that was for a bad purpose," said Kay Buice, who is a long-time Weight Watchers member, having joined the organization in 1998 with her daughter, Becky Hall. The elder Buice works as a civilian at Fort McPherson in Atlanta. She said she made the decision to lose weight as a way to improve her overall health, and then became active in walking events with her husband, Roy.

"I had just finished radiation for cancer, so it was a health issue, basically, for me," she said. "It started out as a casual thing. Now, we are more interested in what our time was. We're becoming more competitive."

The Fort McPherson civilian said she has noticed improvements in her speed and walking abilities, since beginning to walk in charity events. "When I started out, it took me over an hour," she said. "I have done it in ... 48 minutes," she added.

Granddaughter Christa Buice, 24, of Stockbridge, is a full-time student at Griffin Technical Institute, studying orthopedic and surgical technology. She joined Weight Watchers in March 2009, in an attempt to focus on her weight-loss, and health-improvement goals, and has grown to enjoy participating in 5K benefit events.

"Normally, every 5K we go to, there are always flyers for other 5K's," she said. "I'm pretty much open to any 5K that there is. I like the satisfaction of actually doing it. When I was younger, walking was a little more difficult for me. I mainly started it -- and Weight Watchers, too -- to get ready for a knee replacement. Since I've started all this, and I've lost weight and I exercise .... I can put off the knee replacement."

Daughter Becky Hall, 42, of McDonough, works for Cooperative Baptist Fellowship's office in Tucker. She joined Weight Watchers in the fall of 1998, after giving birth to her daughter, Emily Green, in June of that year. Hall, who lost 50 pounds in 1999, said walking not only provides a way for her to exercise, but also to spend quality time with her family.

"I walk quite a bit, anyway, but I think it was something where we all looked at each other and said, 'We could do that,'" Hall said. "It was something we could do together, the four of us. To me, it gives that time to spend together, because we all have our lives and jobs and school and other things. But, for these events, it brings us together. Sometimes, we just walk 3.1 miles and just chat."

Hall added that the collective desire of her and her mother, to walk in charitable events, has been passed down to her own daughter, Emily, who is now 11.

"I think we're an inspiration to each other, from the youngest to the oldest," she said.