Huntington shoots for the moon


Sadie Helmick

City leaders on July 17, 2018, guiding the community with their first steps on the journey of walking to the moon.

It was a bright and sunny Tuesday afternoon in the downtown area of one of America’s unhealthiest cities, when nearly 300 people took the first steps to kick off an ambitious movement—a collective walk to the moon.

The goal of Greater Huntington Walks is to foster a more active environment in the Huntington region, brought together by the spirit of competition and an exciting end goal. By the end of 2018, Greater Huntington Walks hopes to achieve a collective 478 million steps, equivalent to nearly 240,000 miles, the distance to the moon.

Andrew Fischer, a Huntington resident and senior vice president and branch director for RBC Wealth Management, came up with the idea for the challenge earlier in the spring, rooted in discussions among local business leaders, medical institutions, Marshall University and other wellness centers.

“When we bring us all together, I think there’s more people that want to be an active healthy, optimal lifestyle,” Fischer said. “This is where we all come together and can show the world that.”

In 2008, the CDC released a report that named Huntington among the unhealthiest cities in the nation, highlighting concerning health issues, like high rates of obesity, heart disease and diabetes.

“We want Huntington to walk for the health of it,” Fischer said.

Anyone is able to participate in the movement, and many local businesses and organizations have teams that can be joined. While there will be planned community walks, Fischer made it clear that steps can be counted at any time.

To join the movement, go to and create a free profile. Once a profile is created, individuals can choose to walk independently or to be a part of a team. One can participate individually, create a team, or join an existing team and challenge other community-based teams. Steps can be entered manually, or automatically via a pedometer or a phone’s internal pedometer, synced with the free Walker Tracker app.

At the end of the year, the three teams with the most steps will be recognized and have donations made in their name to a local charity of their choosing.

Franklin Norton can be contacted at