Primary Navigation for the CDC Website
CDC en Español
CDC’s Steps Communities
Email Icon E-mail this page
Printer Friendly Icon Printer-friendly version

CDC's Healthy Communities Program

Go back to the Healthy Communities Program Web site




bullet Steps Communities
bullet Success Stories
bullet Publications and Resources
bullet Steps in the News
bullet Newsletters
bullet Evaluation
bullet 2009 Steps Heroes

Contact Info

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Healthy Communities Program
4770 Buford Highway, N.E., Mailstop K-93
Atlanta, GA 30341-3717

Telephone: (770) 488-6452
Fax: (770) 488-8488

bullet Send us an email



Ken FeskeBruce & Brenda HendricksRob MoffatMarcella MortonFlorence WagerAlan Wilmarth

The Steps Community Heroes award acknowledges local heroes who volunteer their time, talents, and expertise to make their communities a healthier place to live. View the video clip of Dr. Alyssa Easton, Steps Program Director, describing in her own words what makes someone a Steps Hero. Read transcript (PDF-53KB).

Rev. Ken Feske
First Baptist Church (former pastor)
Seaside, California
Nominated by Steps to a Healthier Salinas

Photo of Rev. Ken Feske










View the video clip of Rev. Ken Feske describing his community-based projects in Salinas, CA. Read transcript (PDF-61KB).

Rev. Ken Feske exemplifies the principles of the Steps Program. Understanding that prevention happens on many levels, Rev. Feske has worked extensively to influence local policies, change organizational practices, and foster the development of coalitions and networks that support healthier communities. He promoted healthy lifestyles and communities before the establishment of the Steps Program. While pastoring a 300-member congregation, Rev. Feske was the first local faith-based leader to institute a wellness policy at his church. His work enabled the Steps Program to subcontract with parish nurses to continue implementing policies that focus on healthy foods and beverages and physical activity.

Rev. Feske wears multiple hats in his community. He’s been a staunch supporter of Steps since the program was funded in 2003 and serves as a co-chair of the Council for a Healthier Salinas. He also is the project manager of the Soledad Street Revitalization Project. Always cognizant of the importance of making his community safer and healthier, Rev. Feske has identified infrastructure improvements as a project priority. He understands that walkable communities enhance and preserve the quality of life in neighborhoods, and he aims to demonstrate how the success in this community can be replicated in other communities throughout Monterey County. Rev. Feske’s commitment to improving the health and well-being of all residents has greatly enhanced Steps activities in Monterey County and earned him the respect of residents and community leaders.

In The News:
CDC Honors Ex-Salinas-Area Pastor Feske (PDF-33KB) Salinas Californian

Back to top

Bruce and Brenda Hendricks
Cherry Creek Business and Community Association
Cherry Creek, New York
Nominated by Steps to a HealthierNY–Chautauqua County

Photo of Bruce and Brenda Hendricks










View the video clip of the Hendricks describing their efforts to make their community more walkable. Read transcript (PDF-56KB).

Bruce and Brenda Hendricks are lifelong community and health proponents that have worked tirelessly to establish permanent environmental changes to make their community a healthier place to live. As members of the Cherry Creek Business and Community Association, the couple successfully secured funding to build a walking path in a local park. A requirement for the funding was forming a walking program with at least 15 members. Initially the Hendricks thought they would be able to recruit about 15 members. Driven to succeed, the couple quickly recruited nearly 150 participants who have logged more than 34 million steps to date.

To mix fun and physical activity, the walking group maps out the mileage from their town to other Cherry Creek named communities around the country and walks the distance. To date, the group has logged more than 34 million steps.

As the state was developing a new highway in 2000, Bruce, a village board member, successfully pushed for the incorporation of walking trails to ensure Cherry Creek remain a model walkable community. Thanks to the Hendricks’ dedication and vision for sustainability, local residents will be able to walk safely and enjoy the walking trails in their community for years to come.

In The News:
Cherry Creek Residents Receive National Community Heroes Award (PDF-52KB) The Post-Journal
Couple Recognized Nationally for Healthy Community Project (PDF-46KB) The Observer

Back to top

Rob Moffat
Council of Smaller Enterprises
Cleveland, Ohio
Nominated by Steps to a Healthier Cleveland

Photo of Rob Moffat










View the video clip of Rob Moffat describing his efforts to build support for worksite health promotion. Read transcript (PDF-56KB).

A committed and dedicated supporter, Mr. Moffat pushes employee wellness to the forefront in Cleveland’s small and mid-sized business community. Mr. Moffat brings a unique perspective that complements the public health focus of the Steps Program. By promoting the business case for work site wellness programs, he helps move the Steps program’s Healthy Cleveland Business Council to new territory and higher ambitions. As a representative of the Council of Smaller Enterprises (COSE), Mr. Moffat advocates for work site wellness to be a core value of COSE, the small business division of the Greater Cleveland Partnership that supports hundreds of companies throughout the city.

Mr. Moffat is influential in developing several Steps projects, including a work site wellness tool kit that shows companies how to build effective wellness programs. Most recently, he helped plan the first Steps Healthy Cleveland Business Council Challenge — a summer walking program that will benefit local businesses and their employees. Mr. Moffat’s connection to COSE provides the Steps Program with a critical link to the business community that helps the program expand its reach, and improve employee health.

Back to top

Marcella Morton
Healthy Nation Program
Westville, Oklahoma
Nominated by Steps to a Healthier Cherokee Nation

Photo of Marcella Morton











View the video clip of Marcella Morton describing her inspiring personal journey to live a healthier lifestyle. Read transcript (PDF-80KB).

Marcella Morton uses her personal experiences with weight and exercise to encourage others to support Steps activities and to live healthy, active lives. Throughout the span of the Steps Program, her supportive role has helped raise the profile of Steps activities and transform the lives of many American Indians in her community.

A member of the Steps Wings Program since 2002, Ms. Morton voluntarily recruits community members to attend Steps-sponsored events. She sets an example for others in the community by running regularly for exercise and by participating in road races sponsored by the Cherokee Nation, as well as in marathons held around the country.

Well-known and respected in her community, Ms. Morton is always willing to go “above and beyond” for the Steps Program. She eagerly volunteered her time, talents, and skills at a Wings Fitness Expo event in 2006. She taught yoga classes and participated on the Wellness Panel where she recounted her personal story of losing about 60 pounds through good nutrition and regular exercise — including continuing to jog after a physical injury required her to wear braces on both knees.

A retired school teacher, Ms. Morton has a passion for educating others on how they can live a healthy life through achieving their fullest potential. She often tells her story of qualifying for, and later running, the Boston Marathon to show others that they also can become physically active, even if they have led a sedentary lifestyle.

In The News:
Cherokee Health Advocate Earns New National Award (PDF-118KB) Indian Country
Fit Cherokee Wins National Award (PDF-34KB) Muskogee Phoenix

Promise Motivates Woman to Better Health and Award (PDF-350KB) Cherokee Phoenix
      - Published in both English and Cherokee

Back to top

Florence “Flossie” Wager
Vancouver Parks and Recreation
Vancouver, Washington
Nominated by Steps to a HealthierWA–Clark County

Photo of Florence Wager











View the video clip of Kristine Perry paying tribute to Florence "Flossie" Wager.  Read transcript (PDF-54KB). 

Florence Wager has been an active member of several Steps community teams since the program formed 4 years ago. As a member of the Vancouver Parks Commission, Ms. Wager actively advocated for local parks and trail developments that included an abundance of open space for walking and physical activity. She was instrumental in passing a referendum that provided funding for 35 parks that will be built in Clark County during the next 10 years.

A forward-thinker with a passion for health, Ms. Wager pushed for healthy communities long before the Steps Program was established. Prior to 2003, she approached the local Community Choices organization about “doing something” about the county’s obesity problem. Determined to be a part of the solution, the 79-year-old provided the organization local statistics on the burden of obesity and a rationale for addressing the issue. Ms. Wager has been invaluable in supporting the Steps Program and in garnering local community support for Steps activities.

In The News:
Woman's Steps Amount to Large Leap in Health ( The Columbian

Back to top

Alan Wilmarth
Broome County Walks Program
Resident of Hallstead, Pennsylvania
Nominated by Steps to a HealthierNY–Broome County

Photo of Alan Wilmarth











View the video clip of Alan Wilmarth describing how he accomplished living an active life. Read transcript (PDF-56KB).

Affectionately known in Broome County (B.C.) as “Wilmarth,” Alan Wilmarth is the “poster boy” for a walking program called B.C. Walks. He has played an integral role in inspiring more than 50,000 local residents to join the walking program. Mr. Wilmarth, who commutes daily to Broome County for his job in mental health services, has generously provided more than 200 hours of volunteer service to the Steps Program by participating in walks, media events, and as a guest presenter at Steps-related programs. His walks are featured in the Steps Program’s widely recognized “Where’s Wilmarth Walking?” series that is broadcast weekly as part of the local TV news. The series promotes B.C. Walks, showcasing Mr. Wilmarth walking throughout the county. He leads walks with residents and community leaders at schools, work sites, parks, churches, and neighborhoods, including walks with all 19 Broome County Legislators.

Since enrolling in B.C. Walks in 2003, Mr. Wilmarth has walked for exercise every day and lost 60 pounds! Based on Broome County’s recent behavioral risk factor studies, in just one year, the percentage of residents who walked for 30 minutes or more, 5 days a week, increased from 53% to 61%. Mr. Wilmarth’s popularity and visibility undoubtedly contributed to this public health success. As an unofficial ambassador for the Steps Program, Mr. Wilmarth is an invaluable force helping to increase walking in Broome County and motivating others to improve their health.

Back to top

One or more documents on this Web page are available in Adobe Acrobat® Format (PDF). You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view PDF files on this page.

One or more documents on this Web page are available in Windows Media Video (.wmv) format. If you do not already have Windows Media Player, you can download Windows Media Player for free*.

*Links to non-Federal organizations are provided solely as a service to our users. Links do not constitute an endorsement of any organization by CDC or the Federal Government, and none should be  inferred. The CDC is not responsible for the content of the individual organization Web pages found at this link.

Page last reviewed: February 6, 2009
Page last modified: September 4, 2007
Content source: Division of Adult and Community Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
  Home | Policies and Regulations | Disclaimer | e-Government | FOIA | Contact Us
Safer, Healthier People

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Rd, Atlanta, GA 30333, U.S.A
Tel: (404) 639-3311 / Public Inquiries: (404) 639-3534 / (800) 311-3435 The U.S. Governments Official Web PortalDHHS Department of Health
and Human Services