For many of the soldiers on Fort Drum, family and the uncertainty of how they're holding up during a deployment can be more stressful than deployment itself. And soldiers who can't focus on the job, put themselves and others in danger. So as the post readies a new physical fitness program, the Army is also trying to get families more involved. As part of our week-long look at the Army's move to Functional Fitness, our Brian Dwyer introduces us to two families who say this "ultimate exercise" is not only helping them at home, but also bringing them together when they need it the most.
FORT DRUM, N.Y. -- In just about two weeks, the high school basketball season gets underway. And Ashlynn Borce, a junior at Indian River, is determined to be ready.
"At the moment it kind of sucks, but it pays off," said Ashlynn Borce, Indian River Girl's basketball.
The man encouraging Ashlynn is Loreto Borce, her father. A soldier with the 1-87 Infantry on Fort Drum, he knows the value of putting in the work.
"It grows the characteristics in life, working towards your goal through hard work and perseverance," said Loreto Borce Jr., 1-87 Infantry.
Borce has been delivering that message to Ashlynn since she was six, when working out became a family tradition. That family time so important to Borce, who's been deployed several times and hasn't always been there to help Ashlynn toward her dream of college ball. So sometimes it's up to the lessons he leaves behind.
"I pretty much think, 'What would my dad say? What would he tell me? Would he tell me to pick it up?' When I get tired that's in the back of my mind. My dad in the back of my head telling me to hurry up, faster, quicker, quicker. That helps a lot," said Ashlynn Borce.
It's one of what Fort Drum hopes will be thousands of stories just like it. As the post introduces this new Functional Fitness morning workout program, getting the body in-shape to do the actual functions of the job, it's hoping all soldiers want to get their families involved as well.
"It starts to build habits and good habits. I think across this nation we could all benefit from more active lifestyles,” said Lt. Col. Sean Bernabe, 1BCT Deputy Commanding Officer.
A family that plays together, stays together. It's a famous quote, the title of a book and even a music album. And while we're maybe stretching the word plays a bit here, it does fit perfectly. As part of Functional Fitness, Fort Drum is pushing some new workout classes designed for everyone and mixing it up to pique some interest. There's belly dancing, Zumba, and spin class.
On this day, one student in particular couldn't be happier to be drenched in sweat. Petra Harris has seen her husband get shipped out time and time again. He's actually on a mission now in Korea. And with her sons in school and getting older, and her job taking her an hour south to Syracuse every day, you can imagine quality family time is tough to come by. But it does happen, because they all love this class.
"Instead of staying at home and sitting in front of the TV and the computer we can come here and do things together," said Petra Harris, spin class student.
"It's important because she's always at school and the time we get to spend with her isn't computer to computer. It's together in a class getting all sweaty," said Chris Lamb, spin class student.
"When we do get together, like the spin class today, it's actually fun," said Eric Lamb.
A chance for the boys to understand family and what it takes to really work together. Being ready and able to fill the void, by helping out around the house.
"If you're fit you can be more inclined to do stuff like mow the lawn and do the driveway when there's snow or rake the leaves, which I haven't done in a while, but stuff like that is very important," said Chris Lamb.