The 10th Annual African American Male Wellness Walk

City Safety Director Brian Byrd and TaShara Brown

By Angie Hayes
The Truth Reporter

On August 19, 2023, the 10th anniversary African American Male Wellness Initiative began and supported the wellness for the African American men in the community. Toledo continues to support preventive health care with the African American Initiative and acknowledging the impact provided by the African American Male Wellness Walk.  Warren AME Church always volunteers to support the environment, so the African American Male Wellness Initiative was held at 915 Collingwood Blvd.

The free event began in the morning and continued until 1 p.m. Free health screenings began at 8 a.m. and provided knowledge, support and medical resolutions for all participants.  Free screening for blood pressure, sugar, vision, sickle cell, cholesterol, prostate, along with HIV testing was available to participants. Mercy Health and Equitas Health Toledo provided the service free to support healthy lives.  Several announcements were made to women in the atmosphere; requesting for their support to invite or encourage their “Black men, the loves of their lives” to complete the medical screenings and prepare for successful medical issues prevention and healthy living.

The morning also featured music from DJ impress, a fun zone for kids, Mystery Music youth drumline, more than 70 service provider vendors, and a workout session to loosen up the walkers organized by Erika White and Fit Zone.

This year’s honorary chairman was Dennis Hopson, head coach for the Lourdes University men’s basketball team. TaShara Brown, who splits her time between her hometown of Toledo and adopted town, Atlanta, lent her expertise to help with the organization of this year’s event.

The 5K Walk began at 9 a.m. and dozens of participants completed the 5K walk/run.  Many participants ran the entire length of the course, as they are active runners in their lives to support healthy living. Other participants successfully walked in a quick and efficient manner to complete the walk.  Excellent benefits of activity were present, and many participants felt the positivity of the 5K walk.

Toledo’s Public Safety Director Brian Byrd has served for 10 years as the event main organizer after he initially observed the benefits of the event during a visit to Columbus, Ohio as deputy chief of the Toledo Fire and Rescue Department. Observing the impact in the other city motivated Byrd to strengthen his own community by establishing and continuing the powerful impact of the African American Wellness Initiative.

Many vendors set up and offered resources and information to attendees to support and encourage the community. The event included entertainment, resources and a great day to focus on living a successful life in the Toledo area for African American men and to support the entire families also. Attendees learned that men living healthy and successful lives provides peace and happiness for all family members.

The African American Initiative is a great supportive resource for the Toledo community. A day to create positive results for participants and those connected to the participants.