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Seal of the Army National Guard

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This was a Letter to the Editor in the Rutland Herald as today folks lined the streets to wish the National Guard troops that have given so much of themselves to our state over the past month a fond and very grateful farewell as they head home. Thank you National Guard men and women!

Thanks to fellow blogger Kelly at for pointing it out.

Rutland Herald
Letter to the Editor: 

Thank you Vermont:

I am a Virginia National Guard soldier. I have been in Vermont for three weeks. I have driven hundreds of miles through your state and seen first-hand the devastation caused by Tropical Storm Irene.First off, my condolences go out to all those affected by the storm. But what affected me most were the people. From the first day and… the first plate of brownies, the local community has been so supportive, thankful and generous that we were all in awe. 

We are accustomed to “Southern hospitality,” but the people of Vermont have taken it to a new level. Everywhere we go the locals stop and thank us, but I really just want to thank you.

This gratitude goes out to the hundreds of thumbs-up we have received, and especially the little girl who gave me that great smile at a stoplight and a little boy that hugged one of our guys and said, “Thank you, Army man.”

To the people at the Spartan Arena that graciously allowed us lodging and the servers at the Armed Forces Reserve Center that fed us morning and evening meals, we thank you. To Mark, Jen, Tim and the rest of the volunteers, we thank you. For all the plates of cookies, brownies and boxes of personal items — and those tasty Vermont apples — we thank you.

But most of all, thank you, Vermont, for showing how people can pull together in times of need. You were all so generous, gracious and hospitable. I can only hope that if this ever happens in Virginia, or anywhere else in this great country, the people would act the same way. When I leave here in a few days, I will take with me a piece of Vermont and know that Vermont will be just fine thanks to her people.

157th Engineer Platoon
Virginia Army National Guard
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Exercising is good for you. How many times have you heard that? But it appears to be even more true.

Exercising not only can make your body healthier, leaner and stronger, it can make your brain work better. A recent study has indicated that no only is exercise good for your body, but evidently it’s also good for your brain.

A recent University of South Carolina study has indicated a connection between optimal brain function and exercise. While scientists long understood there was a connection between exercise and improved memory and reduction in depression, there was no clear understanding as to the connection between the two.

The South Carolina study conducted on mice measured the energy producing mitochondria in the muscles and brains of mice. One group of mice were removed on a daily basis from their cages and ran on an incline for one hour six days of the week while the other group of mice were the couch potatoes and did not engage in any physical exertion and remained in their cages during exercise periods. Other than exercise periods, the mice were handled, fed and treated the same by the scientists. The mice in both groups were monitored over an eight week period. The findings at the conclusion of the study indicated that in addition to the expected increase in muscle mitochondria, the mice who regularly exercised over the eight-week period enjoyed a brain perk for all their effort, increased brain mitochondria and increased genetic biomarkers for enhanced cognition.

Ilchi Lee, a South Korean author and  longstanding proponent of the connection between increased physical activity and increased brain function maintained that the mind, body and spirit are all interconnected. He has long held that the optimal level of conditioning of one area may well impact the functioning of the others. This study gives scientific credibility to her theory.

The study findings are impressive and indicate that exercise may aid in the future treatment of certain mental disorders, genetic disorders and neurodegenerative disorders. The findings are also significant for athletes since the study demonstrated that the increase in brain mitochondria decreased brain fatigue. The final portion of the study had both sets of mice run on a treadmill until fatigue. The mice who were sedentary did not show any increase in their ability to withstand fatigue. The exercising mice however almost doubled their fatigue point, increasing their ability to run from approximately 74 minutes to approximately 126 minutes. The increase in brain mitochondria may indicate an important connection between exercise and the brain’s ability to withstand fatigue.

Regular exercise of even thirty minutes a day can have a positive impact on brain function making the study findings applicable to everyday folks as well as superstar athletes.

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