It was Show Me time as we joined the kickoff banquet for the 20th annual Missouri State Senior Games in Columbia. Jane Kaiser was the perfect selection to represent the Show Me State Personal Best because she is someone who walks the walk. Jane is still active as a clinical nurse and speaker, and has won many medals and ribbons in local, state and national senior competitions. But NSGA CEO Marc T. Riker explained that her story offers proof of the benefits gained from maintaining exercise, nutrition and preventative health practices throughout life. "At 65, Jane takes no medications and still pursues her career and an active lifestyle. She practices what she preaches," he said. "Jane gives us all an example by her actions on and off the field to inspire others to be active and live longer, better quality lives.”
"Jane has not had to go through the kinds of extreme life obstacles of some of our other Personal Best athletes," he continued. "But she's had her own challenges, and those are the temptations of maybe not exercising, maybe not eating properly, and getting off target. She's stayed on course, and has been an example and an inspiration for many others."
Jane's remarks were brief but thoughtful and heartfelt. "The Olympic Creed has always been a tremendous inspiration for me. It says the most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win, but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph, but the struggle. Every time I approach something I make it a mission to try to do it better than the last time. It's a little bit harder now, but I try. It's an ongoing process that ensures I'm always doing my Personal Best." She then observed, "Living a healthy life is not a spectator sport. In order to live that life you must first choose to participate by being active and making good choices day to day."
Ken Ash and Dave Fox of the Missouri State Senior Games surprised Jane with a special gift - a desk clock with a plaque commemorating the 20th anniversary of their senior games. They even made us feel at home by presenting us with the same memento and some nice words of appreciation.
We were also pleased to have Kathleen Faulk, Humana's Vice President for Senior Products, join the program to congratulate Jane and to express how NSGA's and Humana's missions are aligned. "Seeing seniors like Jane who have made a life of focusing on their health and taking accountability for their own well being is very inspirational," Faulk said. "Humana is transforming itself from just being an insurance company to being a partner to promote health care that results in lifelong well being. Supporting the National Senior Games is one way we are showing that."
The next day we attempted to keep up with Jane as she scurried between the swimming and track venues taking on six scheduled events, and she qualified for each, setting up her journey to the 2015 National Senior Games Presented by Humana coming to Minnesota next July. We also visited softball, pickleball, bowling, volleyball and cycling events, handing out 2015 games information. We found enthusiastic athletes and cheerful volunteers at every stop. The Show Me State definitely showed us a good time!