Carthage seniors accept Walk Across Missouri challenge

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Martha L. Trowbridge, 91, smiles with her daughter, Martha E. Trowbridge at the display "Walk Across Missouri" map where their progress will be logged at the Carthage Senior Center. Rebecca Haines/ Carthage News Online

CARTHAGE, Mo. — This group will have no trouble staying warm this winter.

For the next six months, more than 30 members of the Carthage Senior Center will be logging their steps in a friendly competition called “Walk Across Missouri.”

The challenge – 241 miles by May 2022.

The goal – an active, fun and healthy lifestyle through the dreary months ahead that sometimes leaves seniors feeling gloomy.

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A kickoff event was held Monday at the center where participants received sponsored bags full of snacks, exercise bands and pedometers … But most importantly – encouragement.

“It’s hard to stay motivated when you’re trying to exercise by yourself,” said Jodi Smith, homebound delivered meals coordinator for the center. “This allows and encourages social interaction, accountability and gives people a purpose to get up and move. We’ve mapped out some distances here around our building, we’ll be walking around the Square – but I think one of the biggest motivators is going to be their competitive side.”

At the age of 91, Martha L. Trowbridge was smiling at the idea of beating her daughter, Martha E. Trowbridge. As the two unpacked goodie bags and learned how to track their miles, the mother-daughter duo looked forward to their time together.

“I’m excited about it,” said the daughter. “She’s competitive and if I’m not careful she will beat me. (Laughs) We’ll have a good time doing this together, and coming back here to see everyone’s progress.”

Each participant is represented by a little shoe on a Missouri map on display at the center. But no matter where you are on the map, you’re No. 1 to the members and staff at the center.

“This place gives me the feeling of home,” Smith said. “And when I start talking about the people here it makes me start to cry because they’re like family to me. I couldn’t imagine not being here … it benefits my heart.”

Claude Smith receives his pedometer from Jodi Smith, homebound delivered meals coordinator for the Carthage Senior Center. Rebecca Haines/ Carthage News Online

Originally from Southeast Kansas, Smith started at the center as a kitchen helper. She then proceeded to head cook, and in September took on the role as the homebound delivered meals coordinator after Jo Brust retired. Smith said she’s wanted to organize the “Walk Across Missouri” for a long time and hopes the event grows to include more seniors – perhaps even challenging other senior centers from across the region.

This year, the sponsors for the event are: Adelmo Family Care; JoMo CrossFit; Oak Pointe; SMB; Humana; Show Me Hope; Maple Tree Terrace and Avalon Hospice.

The Carthage Senior Center is located at 404 E. 3rd St., and can be reached at 358-4741.