It may be 0500 on a Sunday morning, but the Sanford Fieldhouse is overrun with recruits prepping to join the South Dakota Army National Guard.
“This morning we’re doing a little early morning physical training for our new warriors that have raised their hand to become part of our team,” said Lt. Col. Lew Weber, recruiting and retention battalion commander.
“To have this type of facility to do this type of activity is incredible.”
‘Headquarters for all tactical training’
Led by senior strength and conditioning coach Jim Lloyd with Sanford Sports Performance, these warriors are getting a monthly crash course from fitness experts before they head to basic training.
“We want to be the headquarters for all tactical training,” said Lloyd, who operates out of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. “We break them into stations. They learn to lift. They learn to run and then they learn how to do their Army Combat Fitness Test.”
From nutrition to sports physical therapy and more, Sanford Health aims to be a go-to resource for military members from every branch.
“We all know the one weekend a month, two weeks a year type of thing, but this really provides a foundation of what ‘right’ looks like. How to stay in shape. How to eat right. How to exercise,” Weber said.
The Sanford Sports Performance team also trains other tactical professionals such as police officers and firefighters.
“Honestly this relationship that we’ve built with Sanford has been great,” Staff Sgt. Kelly Rowland, with the Recruit Sustainment Program, said. “A lot of these warriors that we have coming have maybe never seen the gym before. They’re maybe a little intimidated. They don’t work out.
“We come in, things are set up, we don’t even have to think about it.”
‘They make my workouts for me’
Hannah Terkildsen, affectionately known as Turtle, came all the way from Woonsocket.
“I’m so grateful for it because they tell us what we need to do and when,” Terkildsen said.
The future aviation major at South Dakota State can’t wait to join the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps in college.
“Right now we’re doing my favorite part of being in the Army, PT. I absolutely love working out with (Sanford Health). When they make my workouts for me, it hits different,” Terkildsen said.
The joint effort between Sanford and the Guard is lifting her spirits.
“It just shows a lot of support for us which we always appreciate,” Terkildsen said.
‘We are an organization that is very pro-military’
Sanford Health’s head of military and veteran affairs Paul Weckman says the organization is passionate about those serving in the military.
“We are an organization that really cares to take care of our men and women in the military service,” Weckman said.
“We are an organization that is very pro-military. We’re an organization that has expertise. We’re an organization that also has the facilities.”
Lloyd remembers starting this specific program three years ago and says it’s an honor to work with the Guard.
“We’re the No. 1 supporter and we’re just going to keep doing that and keep building more and more and more because we’re here for you guys,” Lloyd said.
Groups like these warriors feature some of the best our communities have to offer.
“It’s the perfect relationship, the perfect partnership between Sanford Health and the South Dakota Army National Guard,” Weber said.
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