Airman hit the floor for EHH
Technical Sgt. Mark Chandler exhibits enlisted spirit at the Maxwell fitness center Feb. 18 during a push-up and sit-up-athon in support of the Air Force Enlisted Heritage Hall.(Air Force photo/Melanie Rodgers Cox)
Airman hit the floor for EHH



by Kimberly L. Wright
Air University Public Affairs


2/25/2011 - MAXWELL-GUNTER AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- For many Maxwell-Gunter Airmen, Feb. 18 was an up-and-down day as they taxed their arms and abs, and panted and grunted at a push-up and sit-up-athon at Maxwell fitness center.

Participants attempted to do as many pushups and/or situps as possible in a 10-minute period in support of the Air Force Enlisted Heritage Hall at Gunter Annex.

Senior Master Sgt. Michael Bellerose of the Barnes Center, who helped organize the Air Force-wide event, said that the fundraiser supports the many projects on tap at the EHH.

This includes an upcoming award for enlisted service members in honor of Chief Master Sgt. Richard Etchberger, who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor in October 2010, as well as a monument honoring first sergeants.

Sergeant Bellerose said the First Sergeant Council was brainstorming a fun way to raise funds when Air University Foundation executive director Joe Panza mentioned doing a push-up and sit-up athon.

"We do these all the time in the Air Force," he said.

Awards will be presented to the male and female with the highest count in either category.

In July, the Air Force Sergeants Association will present awards to the council and major command with the highest count, highest percentage of participants and most money raised at the 2011 Air Force Sergeants Association Professional Airmen's Conference in San Antonio.

Those participating in the fundraiser at Maxwell included Tech. Sgt. Mark Chandler of the U.S. Air Force Academy, who took time out from his late-morning schedule to participate, inspired by the Enlisted Heritage Hall's mission.

"A few months ago I went through the NCO academy," he said. "I appreciate what they do, and I want to do what I can. I'll do as many (push-ups) as I can do."

Naturally, as a service member staying fit to fight, he is no stranger to doing loads of push-ups, though "usually I do it in a course of a day, not a 10-minute period," he said.

Sergeant Bellerose inspired Airmen whose muscles were burning with the exertion by informing them that Air University Commander Gen. Allen Peck completed 275 pushups in 10 minutes earlier that morning.

The tactic worked on Staff Sgt. Josh Fahlegren of the LeMay Center, who worked diligently an hour before catching a flight and came close to making the top score.

His near-feat didn't come without a cost.

"My arms are sore," he commented.