By EVERETT GALLAGHER
My wife and I recently participated in the New Albany Walking Classic. We look forward to it every year.
Walk Magazine rated the New Albany Walking Classic as the top walking race in America. We love it because it’s an opportunity to spend a lovely morning walking through beautiful New Albany with many friends and neighbors. And, of course, we feel better after exercising.
There are so many amazing people who make the event special — usually with little fanfare. We are grateful to founder and organizer, Phil Heit, his team at Healthy New Albany and the hundreds of volunteers.
Beyond the walk, Healthy New Albany presents the New Albany Farmers Market, the community garden and year-round programs.
Always behind the scenes is the city of New Albany, providing support from police and service departments and whatever is needed to stage a first-class event.
One New Albany attribute I appreciate is how differently we do things in comparison to other communities.
Rather than the city driving everything, in New Albany it is common for citizen volunteers to advance community events and initiatives.
Volunteers worked with the New Albany Community Foundation to launch Safety Town and Healthy New Albany. Volunteers started the farmers market and community garden. Volunteers established the New Albany Women’s Network, the arts council, the symphony orchestra and more.
Residents find it easy to engage and help shape their community in positive ways, and, to their credit, the city, Plain Township, the New Albany-Plain Local School District, the community foundation and other groups rally to support the many resident-driven efforts.
There might be no better example of this than Healthy New Albany. Through Phil’s vision and leadership, hundreds of dedicated volunteers, forward-thinking city leaders and a foundation that serves generous donors, Healthy New Albany has an impressive facility, impactful programming and a growing endowment to help sustain its mission.
Healthy New Albany and its volunteers want to build a culture of health and wellness in the community. What a wonderful aspiration and one that benefits all of us.