Fit to celebrate: ‘Y’ recognizes top weight losers

Published 4:47 am Saturday, October 14, 2017

On Wednesday, the Bogalusa YMCA awarded two people who lost a combined total of 330 pounds with certificates of achievement. Jason C. Pierce, who trains with Brandi Beaudette and Ricky Singleton, lost 150 pounds since last August. And Keely Mckelphin, who trains with Brooke Kennedy, lost 180 pounds since August of 2015.

They each lost enough weight to quite possibly amount to a whole person.

Pierce said he realized in August of last that he had to do “something different” for his health so he could “continue to be here” for his wife, Sheri, and his family. He told Sheri that he planned to go to the YMCA to walk on the treadmill.

“So the first time I went over to the Y to walk the treadmill, I was very apprehensive and nervous,” he said. “But when I went in and was able to walk five minutes, which I thought was a huge accomplishment.

“I was gassed and worn out, but to me it was a feat of many more to come. Little by little, I was able to add a minute here and there, to where I was able to eventually do 30 minutes at a time.”

Pierce said Singleton introduced himself to him when he got off the treadmill one day and told him about the classes he and Beaudette offered at the Y.

“At that point I knew that God made our paths cross for a good reason,” Pierce said.

A chance meeting with Beaudette and Singleton in a store a couple weeks later, prompted Pierce to one of their classes.

“At that point I was trying to talk of going with every reason that I could come up, because I knew it would be a grueling experience, one that was ready for,” he said. “I think I had a lot of self doubt.”

But after he’d procrastinated until a half hour before the class started, Pierce was in attendance.

“I walked in the class scared to death,” he said.

But when Pierce was welcomed by Beaudette and Singleton, it made him feel better. The two told him, “We are with you on this journey, the whole way through.”

Now he and his only trainers “have become wonderful friends, and extended family,” Pierce said.

He now goes to classes two or three times a week.

“The grace of God is so strong to help you through when you feel the deck is stacked against you,” Pierce said. “I always pray while in class, because it helps me make it through each class.”

Now, approximately a year after he started working out at the Bogalusa YMCA, he said he’s 150 pounds lighter and his waist circumference is 14 inches less.

The trainers are impressed.

“Jason has always given one hundred percent to all he’s committed to,” Beaudette said. “We couldn’t be more proud of his accomplishments. He’s purposefully driven and has goals. He does what’s needed to get there, and isn’t afraid to ask for help to go the extra mile.

“Jason’s fitness journey has inspired so many people so many people that he comes into contact with on a daily basis. Everyone in class looks to his cheerful smile for encouragement. We all are cheering him on and praying for him. This man has truly enriched our lives beyond measure. We love him.”

“I’ve got some way to go, but I’m not finished yet!” Pierce said. “I’m still going and still achieving what I thought couldn’t be achieved. If my story helps one person to make e changes for the better, then all my work was worth it.”