Jefferson County Came Out to Play

In a day when sedentary lifestyles seem to dominate so many of us and playing outside is almost a lost art, Jefferson County Health Council has connected to an amazing revolution: the Governor’s Healthier Tennessee Initiative. There was an Open House this past Tuesday, March 28th, at the Shepard Inn to celebrate healthy living.

Jefferson County Health Council, along with the Council’s subcommittee Jefferson Joins, hosted the event to bring awareness to the community about the importance of combining healthy eating, fitness and tobacco cessation, in order to establish a healthy lifestyle.

“We wanted to have a ‘kick off’ event, and somewhat of an open house to share with the community the importance of the Governor’s Healthier Tennessee initiative and the impact it can have on a community. We wanted the community to come out and enjoy healthy refreshments, and fun activities,” explained Health Council Chair, Rev. Debra Shultz.

Judge Duane Slone was a special guest who also shared the importance of healthy living: body, soul and spirit.

“God created our bodies to work for us. So, keeping them healthy is important. Staying active, eating properly, as well as staying positive mentally and spiritually is the way we are designed by God to live,“ claimed Slone. He also touched on our opioid epidemic, as he addressed the crowd and 20 students from Dumplin Valley Boys and Girls Club. “Stay away from drugs. They destroy you by tricking your brain into believing your natural desires are being met. God has a better life, and healthier life for you.”

There was also a special event held on the dike that emphasized, ‘Jefferson County Come out and Play’.

Dr. Laura Chambers from Peak Wellness and Kevin Poe from GITMO Fitness were on hand to assist in leading the Boys and Girls Club, and other children, in a fun-filled day!

“Healthy eating and living are critically important to us as individuals and as a community. They aren’t easy, but when we work together to make healthier choices, we have much more success and grow closer together,” shared Dr. Chambers.

“Children are our future. We should promote and deliver a positive message about health and fitness. After all, they will be carrying us one day,” added Kevin Poe, who assisted in leading the activities planned for the youth at the dike during the Jefferson Joins come out and play event.

“We are so grateful to the organizations in Jefferson County that are participating in this project and are showing their full support,” says Shultz.

Shultz shares that this new group is taking this action plan to the streets. Jefferson Joins is making headway toward meeting all requirements to receiving a $5,000 grant for the Health Council to use to promote health in the county.

She states that the name reflects a revolution to encourage the county to come together to create a powerful action plan to emphasize a healthier lifestyle. The goal is to bring together programs that are already in place in the county that currently are encouraging nutritional eating, fitness and/or tobacco cessation.

“We have so many awesome programs already in place in this county. UT Extension provides nutritional eating programs in the schools and now has started a special program for Churches, called ‘Faithful Families’. “

The Jefferson County Health Department is also very active in providing healthy eating tips and exercise programs in the schools and the community.

In the area of Tobacco, they also provide tobacco education for the schools, along with other agencies such as U. T. Extension and the local substance abuse coalition, Rescue 180.

Sherri Montgomery, County Director of Jefferson/Hamblen Health Departments, explains “The mission of the Tennessee Department of Health is to protect, promote and improve the health and prosperity of people in Tennessee, and that is exactly what Jefferson Joins is doing. The Jefferson County Health Department is honored to be a partner in this effort.”

Keith Shultz, Assistant Director of Rescue 180 emphasizes how collaboration is getting the job done.

“It is a fact that the stats are showing, especially in our efforts to decrease tobacco use, that working together as a county, shoulder to shoulder with other prevention efforts, is indeed showing up in the numbers,” said Keith. “Our adult smoking rates have been almost cut in half – 40% down to 21% – from 2010 to 2016.”

The Governor’s Initiative is providing an umbrella, as well as an incentive to bring agencies together”, shares Health Council Chair, Rev. Debra Shultz , ”Jefferson Joins is working toward encouraging more faith-based organizations to sign up for the initiative.“

“For more information, go to to sign up your church, business or individuals. All are welcome!!”

Rev. Shultz says Jefferson Joins, would like to thank Jim and Karen Everett, for allowing them to have the event at Shepard Inn. Also Dandridge Food City and Perkins are greatly appreciated for their donations.

Source: Rev. Debra Shultz, Rescue 180, Jefferson Joins

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