EAGLE RIVER - The Eagle River YMCA sponsors a program called "Y-Weight" every year.
Participants have trainers to teach them about good nutrition and exercise.
They also have each other for support... and a little competition.
Sounds a lot like The Biggest Loser, except the point of this program is slow, steady weight loss that lasts.
"I got into the program because I wanted to change for me." said winner of Y-Weight Competition, Debbie Heller.
Changing for the better are these people's goals.
"I didn't like who I looked like, what was taking place," Heller said.
"So I wanted to feel happy with myself and when you're happy with yourself it kind of leaps over into every aspect of your life."
"During this past year my husband became ill and had lost a lot of weight," Y-Weight competitor, Bonnie Kegley said.
"I was very proud of him and pleased with the progress he had made and decided I needed to do something as well."
But it's not an easy task when you're first starting out.
"You have to change the eating. You have to change the exercising," said Y-Weight competitor Dave Sadenwasser.
"You have to change the portion control and you really have to change the way you think and the way you go about everything. It's a total commitment of every asset."
Even though this was a competition to see who would lose the most weight, Heller says it wasn't about winning.
"It was about doing something for us. And that was the big difference," Heller said.
"You have to change too and want to change for yourself. You can't do it for somebody else or you ultimately aren't going to succeed."
You may not be doing it for somebody else, but having somebody else's support is important.
"You're going to build your friendships. Certain people are going to click with other people and I've seen friendships being built here that I think will last a lifetime," said personal trainer, Mandy Rottier.
"It's so important to build those friendships with people that are also on that healthy lifestyle journey."
The YMCA of Eagle River runs the 10 week program once a year.
But they are looking into expanding it for the summer time.
MERRILL - For 32 years Battalion Chief Mike Drury walked into the Merrill Fire Department ready to save lives. Friday he walked out of the department for the last time to start the new phase of his life. "It goes fast it goes really fast," said Drury. Drury was about 18 -years -old when he walked into the Merrill Fire Department for the first time. "When you're 18, 19,20 years old and you're looking at 50 something years old you think you're never going to get there," said Drury.
Drury is one of 184 firefighters to ever work full time with the city of Merrill. "As a firefighter they spend a lot of time at the fire house so they miss a lot of things," said Drury's daughter Cassi. After 32 years of missing birthdays, holidays and family time Drury was ready for a change. "I realized I had enough this is a young man's job," said Drury. Friday afternoon Drury said goodbye to a room of men who merged and became family. "Not having that is a little scary I know they'll always be our family but it's hard to leave," said Cassi. Cassi watched her dad rush off to help his community since the day she was born. "It's scary because you hear about the times things don't go right or the times fire fighters don't come home," said Cassi.
RHINELANDER - A Rhinelander couple thought they were empty nesters. However, an experience volunteering made them open their doors back up to kids who need a temporary home. The Zoerb's adult children moved out years ago. But at any moment they could get a call from social services that make them bring out their parenting skills for another round. Rick and Danielle Zoerb work together as realtors putting people in homes that are the perfect fit. However, the husband and wife know their home can be a good fit for others too. "There's no reason for kids to have to fall through the cracks," said Dani. Rick met a child at a mentorship program a few years ago. It was a meeting that opened a new door for him and his wife. "There was no hesitation on our part when we felt the situation was deteriorating for this young boy," said Rick.
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