Diersen Charities Albuquerque Staff Take Advice From Diabetes Expert And Dismas Friend Jesse Sturgeon

In early May, the Albuquerque (NM) program received a visit from Dismas’ Vice President of Development Den Freaney and Jesse Sturgeon, a long-time Friend of Dismas, who is heavily involved in promoting diabetes awareness and healthier lifestyles.  Sturgeon, a professional runner who gained notoriety by winning the Corpus Christi Beach to Bay Relay Marathon under the flag of Team Dismas, explained the importance of diet and exercise to counter the effects of diabetes. Sturgeon has diabetes and controls it through diet and exercise. During the discussion, Sturgeon promised that the staff member present who showed the most commitment to their health and wellness would receive a new pair of running shoes from Dismas. Director Jack Morgan was tasked with determining who that staff member would be. But in early August, when Freaney and Sturgeon returned to the  center to make the presentation, Morgan couldn’t make a decision because of the high level of success by all participants. The solution? Everybody wins. The first pair of shoes was actually presented shortly after the May presentation to Albuquerque Cook Ernest Valencia. Valencia said he had recently been diagnosed with diabetes and that he was now taking time to go to the gym and exercise regularly. Sturgeon and Freaney were impressed with Valencia’s push to get healthy and mailed him the first pair of new shoes. Since then, Valencia has continued to exercise and has even been taken off his diabetes medication. In taking wellness and community support to the next level, Director Morgan participated in the UV Color Splash 5K run on August 9. All proceeds from the 5K were given to PB&J Family Services, an organization which helps in the lives of children of parents who have been incarcerated. The Albuquerque program has worked with PB&J as a community partner in helping residents find jobs and unite with their families. Albuquerque staff posing with their new shoes are (from left) Counselors Jonathan Martinez and John Romero, Resident Monitor Francisco Mendez, Employment Specialist Antonio Downie, Valencia, Word Processor Jessica Kelley, Social Services Coordinator Janelle Brandow, Resident Monitor Antonette McConnell, Word Processor Dannie Sweeney, Sturgeon, Counselor Fernando Torres, and Freaney.