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Health and Fitness

Team Red White and Blue

Enriching the lives of Sailors physically and emotionally

How often are sailors heard admitting that the only time they exercise is right before a PRT? A nation-wide organization dedicated to enriching the lives of all who serve is helping Sailors not only get healthier physically, but mentally and emotionally as well.

Team Red White and Blue (RWB) connects veterans, civilians, and those still serving to their community through physical and social activity.

When Information Systems Technician 1st Class Lauren Boulay discovered RWB in 2013, she admits she wasn't into fitness at the time. When a shipmate encouraged her to try an RWB group run, she found she loved it.

"Before I started, I would just go to the gym every couple months and the only time I ran would be for a PT test. RWB inspired me to want to push myself," explained Boulay.

By mid-march, she had quit smoking because she wanted to run more with RWB. A couple months later, she ran her first half marathon.

Boulay credits the friendships she's made in RWB to getting her much more physically active.

"I didn't realize I loved running until I started running with these people," said Boulay. "It made me want to run every single race I could just so I could have those experiences. Now people look at me like, 'Wow, you're so active!'"

When Boulay suffered a knee injury in December 2014, she turned to RWB for support.

"I didn't want to walk because it hurt, so I needed a push. My friends in RWB helped me go hard in physical therapy because I wanted to get back as fast as I could to be back with the team."
  • Boulay participates in a CrossFit class with fellow RWB members in Arlington, VA.

  • Boulay participates in a CrossFit class with fellow RWB members in Arlington, VA.

  • Boulay running with fellow RWB members outside a CrossFit class in Arlington, VA.

  • Boulay slaps hands with fellow RWB member during CrossFit workout.

Running is not all that RWB offers. Other activities include yoga, rock climbing, social events, and volunteer efforts, such as cleaning national war monuments or helping to build adaptive houses for wounded veterans. Members socialize and encourage each other on social media, and fellow team members are easy to find at events, as most of them wear red shirts emblazoned with an eagle, the group's patriotic trademark.

RWB has also been a source of motivation for active duty service members and veterans suffering with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, depression, or loneliness.
"I have a friend going through a lot of stuff - RWB has helped immensely. Now when she feels depressed she still feels part of a team," Boulay explained.

Connections to the civilian world is another benefit RWB offers. Military life is all that many Sailors know, so when it's time to transition to the civilian world, it can feel overwhelming. By bridging military and civilian communities, RWB helps Sailors make valuable connections and get practical advice about jobs, resume building, or workplace norms for civilian professions. Networking takes place in a natural, unforced way as service members from all branches and civilians spend time together in casual atmospheres. Genuine friendships form, which are the cornerstone of RWB.

Boulay has continued her rehabilitation after knee surgery in February, and plans to be back running full force with RWB soon. Whether she's working out or supporting volunteer efforts with RWB, she said it doesn't feel like effort.

"It just feels like being with my friends."
Team Red White and Blue membership is free and open to all.

Click here to find a chapter near you.