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Tag Along With Us Throughout The Old Glory Relay!

This fall, we’ve partnered with Team Red, White, and Blue, whose mission is to enrich the lives of American veterans through fitness and social activities. From September through November, thousands of veterans and supporters will walk, run, and hike a single American flag across nine states, fueling up along the way at various The Vitamin Shoppe pit stops. 

Over the course of the relay, we’ll be sharing photos and videos of the action in real-time, as well as stories of our own Health Enthusiasts who served proudly in the military. Follow along as Old Glory flies high, from NYC to Atlanta.

OCTOBER 31

Team RWB’s Old Glory Relay continuing on its epic journey from New York City to Atlanta, making a pit stop at The Vitamin Shoppe in Murfreesboro, Tennessee on Day 51 of the relay. Thousands of volunteer runners have covered 1,968 miles so far—with another 500 miles to go until the Old Glory flag crosses the finish line in Atlanta.

Dan Bristol, District Sales Manager, running the flag into The Vitamin Shoppe pit stop in memory of his son, Spencer, who served in the U.S. Navy for five years as a medical corpsman. He said, “The Old Glory Relay hits home for me, having a son who served and fought for our country, as well as multiple family members who served.” Read more about Dan’s story below.

The Vitamin Shoppe is proud to sponsor Team RWB’s mission to support veterans through health and wellness activities in chapters across the country. A huge thanks to the Store 505 team for supporting the Old Glory Relay and to Dan for supporting Team RWB and sharing his family’s personal story.

October 15

Arriving at The Vitamin Shoppe in Charlotte, North Carolina

Erin Hicks, Senior District Sales Manager at The Vitamin Shoppe, and Paul and Sandy Sklar, who own a Charlotte gym and are top-tier fitness influencers with Optimum Nutrition, running the Old Glory Flag towards The Vitamin Shoppe pit stop.

For Erin, the day had special meaning, as military service is a long and proud family tradition. She called running with the flag in the Old Glory Relay “one of the highlight moments of my life.”

Ending the day with healthy snacks and drinks offered up by the store Health Enthusiasts, including Neal Panza, EVP, Retail Sales, Operations, and Services

October 10

Stopping at the Airborne and Special Operations Museum, an interactive and immersive learning experience, highlighting over 80 years of U.S. Army Airborne and Special Operations history!

October 4

Old Glory Relay runners reaching The Vitamin Shoppe distribution center in Ashland, VA after running the flag for 44 miles.

Andrew Laudato, Chief Operating Officer of The Vitamin Shoppe; Neil Rosen, VP of Distribution, Transportation and Supply Chain Solutions (and a Navy Veteran); and Tim Metzgar, Senior General Manager for the Ashland and Avondale Distribution Centers (and an Army Veteran) hosting the pit stop celebration.

Ending the day with refreshments, sample goodie bags from our five partners (Labrada NutritionIsopureForce Factor, LifeAID, and Optimum Nutrition), and a raffle for gift bags full of The Vitamin Shoppe’s health and wellness products.

The Vitamin Shoppe Salutes Health Enthusiast Erin Hicks 

We asked Erin, a Senior District Sales Manager at The Vitamin Shoppe, to share about her experience in the Air Force and what she learned about leadership during her time in Korea.

My family has a long history of military service, but I was the first female to enlist. My grandfather served in the U.S. Navy during World War II and my father served in the U.S. Army in Vietnam. Prior to joining The Vitamin Shoppe, I was in the U.S. Air Force for four years, which included a deployment to South Korea. Today, my son, Mason Hicks, is a seven-year active-duty U.S. Marine in Special Ops, with deployments in Afghanistan, Syria, Romania, Georgia, and Japan.

Mason gave up a full-ride scholarship to UNC-Chapel Hill to join the Marines. It was important to him to be involved in something that has a true impact on the freedom we enjoy as Americans. We need people to protect our land and our freedom, and he stands ready, steadfast, and selfless to do that. There’s no greater pride than that as a mom.

While serving in Korea, I got to learn about a new culture and work alongside people from all parts of the world. I learned a great deal about leadership, and it’s shaped who I am today. After leaving the Air Force, I was a registered nurse for many years, before joining The Vitamin Shoppe as a part-time Health Enthusiast and rising through the ranks to become a District Sales Manager, leading a team of stores.

It’s an honor and privilege to run in the Old Glory Relay. It’s the least I can do to honor every veteran. At The Vitamin Shoppe, the very nature of our job is meant to help others live their best life by providing knowledge about solutions that support healthy lifestyles. Team RWB is doing the same for veterans by connecting them to their communities through physical and social activity. Their mission and our mission are similar. Simply put, we take care of one another.

September 30 

Arriving at Arlington National Cemetery to take part in a wreath-laying ceremony honoring fallen American soldiers.

The Vitamin Shoppe Salutes Health Enthusiast Dan Bristol

We spoke with Dan, a District Sales Manager with The Vitamin Shoppe, about his personal motivation for taking part in the Old Glory Relay.

I’ll be running with the flag in the Old Glory Relay in Murfreesboro, TN to honor my late son, Spencer Bristol, a veteran of the U.S. Navy. Spencer served in the U.S. Navy for five years as a Medical Corpsman, which included a deployment to Afghanistan where he supported a Marine unit and was awarded a commendation for valor. After leaving the Navy in 2012, Spencer returned to his hometown of Hendersonville, TN, and became a police officer. In 2019, Spencer was tragically killed in the line of duty while pursuing a suspect.

The Old Glory Relay hits home for me, having a son who served and fought for our country, as well as multiple family members who served. Our veterans deserve our sincere appreciation for their service and sacrifice. My son was incredibly impacted by the actions that took place on 9/11, which led him to serve. He was a servant leader from as early as I can remember. During his time in church he worked with special needs children. And while training in martial arts, he became a student instructor for special needs children. His life was dedicated to serving others and he genuinely cared about human life.

Apart from my work at The Vitamin Shoppe, I support my community by serving as a volunteer member of the Tennessee State Guard and as a volunteer at the local police department. I’m active in the Tunnel to Towers Foundation, and I have organized a fundraising run this fall in Hendersonville, on a course that my son used to run as a member of his high school cross country team.

September 26 

Visiting Boulder Crest in Virginia, whose mission is to train combat veterans and first responders to thrive in the aftermath of their trauma.

Taking a break at our Frederick, MD store to recharge before hitting the road.

The Vitamin Shoppe Salutes Health enthusiast Jim Smith

We asked Jim, a Health Enthusiast at our Lynnwood, WA store, to share his experience in the Navy and how it helped him develop problem-solving skills.

We asked Jim, a Health Enthusiast at our Lynnwood, WA store, to share his experience in the Navy and how it helped him develop problem-solving skills.

I enlisted in the U.S. Navy because my father and his friends were career naval officers. I was an E4 (Boatswain’s mate 3rd class). Most of the time I was on a command staff on various amphibious ships and my main duties were driving and maintaining the staff boats.

During my time in the Navy, I learned how to apply teamwork, how to follow a defined organization and the importance of getting the job done. My military experience made me seek alternative ways to solve problems since you can’t go to Home Depot in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. It also taught me how to seek advice and information from others.

I still have an affiliation with the military today and am extremely proud of my oldest grandson (pictured above), who is a Lieutenant in the Navy. I communicate with him at least once a week. He is an Air-Electronics Officer and is currently stationed at Nellis Airforce Base.

I want the American people and my customers to realize that the military is more than trained warriors. It includes doctors, lawyers, administrative professionals, engineers, construction workers, and more. Many have chosen to stay in the armed forces even though they would have a more comfortable lifestyle and larger income as civilians.

The Vitamin Shoppe Salutes Health Enthusiast Melissa Brewer

We asked Melissa, a Health Enthusiast at our Norfolk, VA store, to share about her experience in the Navy and how it helped her become a strong leader.

I joined the Navy for the adventure and to continue the tradition of service in my family as a 5th generation sailor. During my time in the Navy, I learned how far I could push myself both physically and mentally. The Navy also helped me understand what good leadership can do and how to apply it to my current role in retail. It shaped my ability to adapt to any situation and grow both personally and professionally from it.

I still have a very strong connection to a lot of my former shipmates, and I volunteer at many veteran events. One of my sons is currently serving in the Virginia National Guard, as well.

I want Americans and my customers to know that serving in the military is an experience like no other. We don’t set out to be heroes; service comes in many forms, we just chose this path.

The Vitamin Shoppe’s participation in The Old Glory Relay is a wonderful way to honor veterans and remind one another that, as a country, we will always persevere when we work together.

SEPTEMBER 18 

Running up The Pennsylvania Capitol steps!

Fueling up at our Harrisburg, PA store.

The Vitamin Shoppe Salutes Health Enthusiast Ian Potter

We asked Ian, a Health Enthusiast at our Williamsville, NY store, to share about his experience in the military and how it shaped his outlook on setting and achieving personal goals.  

I enlisted in the United States Marine Corps because I wanted to serve and protect our country while doing something bigger and more honorable with my life. I also wanted to follow in my family’s footsteps in serving. I was stationed in Camp Lejeune with V1/2 where my rank was Corporal/E-4 and my MOS was an 0352 Anti-Tank Missile-Man.

The biggest lesson I learned from the Marine Corps is that the mind is stronger than the body. What I mean by this is that you can push yourself to do much more than you’re capable of, but if your mind quits then so will your body. This not only applies to working out but also to your work ethic. You must push through till the end. Work ethic goes farther than intelligence in my opinion, and my military experience helped establish my strong work ethic. You can be smart but if you do not work hard to achieve your goals it will only take you so far.

I’m currently in inactive reserve; however, I have some very close friends who are still in the military. What I want Americans and my customers to know is that everyone’s support goes a long way for those in the military. It means the world to be thanked or recognized for our service. We never brag or talk much about what we do or what happens daily. We just do our job to the best of our ability. This is one of the reasons I love that The Vitamin Shoppe is participating in the Old Glory Relay. It’s a great way to show support for active-duty members and veterans.

September 12

Passing through Yankee Stadium!

September 11: Kick-Off Day

The Old Glory Relay kicked off early this morning in Battery Park, near One World Trade Center—and will continue across nine states through November. We’re proud to partner with Team RWB, Labrada Nutrition, Isopure, Force Factor, and LifeAID, and Optimum Nutrition to support this amazing initiative and America’s veterans.

Closing out the day at our Hoboken, NJ, store.

 

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