There are 6,897 miles between Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Afghanistan. A small group of Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) teammates who are based in Pittsburgh decided they would walk “to Afghanistan” and back in support of the men and women in uniform who have served, and are currently serving, in that country.
In the process, they also surpassed their health goals, walking more than 28 million steps, in a way that promotes kinship and camaraderie among teammates. Each person aimed to walk 6,000 steps per day, which translates into 3 miles walked and 300 calories burned daily.
“It started as a healthy challenge to see how many calories we can burn in one day,” said Emily Nicholson, WWP teammate. The group sustained the effort for one year.
“Each week, teammates reported their steps, and the information was displayed on a wall using whimsical avatars to represent each teammate,” explained Kimmi Sterner, WWP teammate.
The group received cumulative totals and encouraging messages every Monday to remind them to keep walking. Some people used their phones to track steps, avoiding the expense of buying a fitness tracker.
“Since starting the program last year, the Pittsburgh office feels like a different place,” Emily said. “We eat lunch together more often, have built better relationships, and support one another personally and professionally even more than before.”
The resulting bonds and camaraderie have made the work environment more productive and meaningful. “When one of us is away doing field work, we are greeted with ‘we missed you,’ and we look forward to coming back to the office to see our teammates,” Emily said.
The team is proud they’ve “taken steps in remembrance of those who walked for our freedom,” Emily said. They surpassed their goal of 27,588,000 steps (13,794 miles to Afghanistan and back). The total team steps: 28,645,927.