Team Red, White & Blue puts health and wellness first for veterans

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Friday, November 10, 2023
Team Red, White & Blue puts health and wellness first for veterans
Team Red, White & Blue puts health and wellness first for veterans

SOUTH PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Veterans service organizations have many ways of connecting with men and women formerly in uniform.

Team Red, White & Blue is a group dedicated to using fitness as its calling card.

You never know who will answer when the Philadelphia chapter of Team Red, White, and Blue calls a WOD - a workout of the day at the Navy Yard's Central Green.

Team RWB started in 2010 to serve veterans of the Iraqi and Afghan campaigns, but is now committed health and wellness for all veterans.

"Not just physical health, but our mental health, our emotional well-being, our spiritual health, nutrition, sleep, everything," says John Bond, Social Director for the Philadelphia chapter.

Bond says veterans like him need to counter the stress service puts on the body, ranging from heavy gear in desert heat to loading transport planes.

"We need to start taking care of our bodies, because we, as service members, put our bodies through a lot of stress," Bond says.

The goal is ensuring a veterans' best days are ahead.

"As we live longer, what is our quality of life going to be?" he asks.

Through more than 200 local chapters, Team Red, White, and Blue has organized many activities.

"5K's, 10K's, half-marathons, full marathons, ultra marathons, to rucking or backpacking," says Bond.

Old Glory Relays are a signature event, with veterans and non-veterans passing the same American flag from coast to coast. There are also pick-up workouts like this, called "deck of cards PT," with exercises determined by playing cards.

Former Marine Mary Tennison of Palmyra, N.J., enjoys the break from working at home all day.

"You can go anywhere any night of week and find an event," says Mary.

Nikki Wright, of Millville, N.J., the daughter of a Vietnam veteran, found Team RWB during her personal mission to run half-marathons in every state.

"I would go from state-to-state and see these people in these red eagle shirts, and my running partner was like, 'You gotta find out who whose people are!'" she says.

Now, Nikki has workout partners everywhere.

"I go to other states to do races, and I look up the local chapter and I'm like - 'Hey guys, what're you doin'?'" she says.

Bond says Team Red, White, and Blue gives his civilian life purpose.

"I'm truly blessed to have found this organization, and I'm excited just to be part of it," he says gratefully.