LAWTON, OK (KSWO) -In an effort to promote active and healthy lifestyles, Pat Henry Elementary students and Lawton police officers walked to school together Friday morning.
The school has been doing the 'Walk to School' program since October 2015. Students, parents and school staff meet at a certain place once a month on a Friday and walk to school together the rest of the way. For the first time, Lawton police officers joined in and brought a drone to take some video from the sky as the kids got active before the school day started.
It was definitely a sight to see, and an event that stopped traffic near the school as more than 40 kids marched with the officers up to the school.
"I like walking far, so I can get some steps for my pedometer. So, I like to walk to school a lot," said Julian Ashbury, a 4th-grade student.
Ashbury, who has been to every 'Walk to School' day at Pat Henry Elementary, participates in a countywide 'Walk' program with the Comanche County Memorial Hospital Foundation.
Fourth-graders count their steps on a pedometer and if they get 10,000 steps each day for six weeks, they could win a day full of games and activities at the YMCA.
Tina West dropped off her two kids for 'Walk to School' day. A day that was highly anticipated in her house.
"He was like 'Mom! It's Walk to School day. We got to leave early!' I said 'I know son, we have to leave early,'" West said.
West and other parents dropped off or even walked with the kids starting at Northwest 19th Street and Kingsbury Avenue.
Comanche County Memorial Hospital programs director Sandy Foster says they picked up more students along the way.
"We're walking and parents are driving up and they're stopping to let their kids off to come in and join us," Foster said.
Foster says Friday morning was one of the largest turn outs for the event. She says because officers came and walked with the kids, it became about more than just getting active.
"Think about the community goodwill. Some of these kids are afraid of our police officers. Part of it is that they hear 'Oh, if you don't do your homework they're going to come pick you up.' You know, they are just afraid of them, and this way they get to come out and see them as other people," Foster said.
'Walk to School' day is only at Pat Henry Elementary for now. Foster is hoping that it will spread to other schools and more kids will choose to come out and walk to school.
The 'Walk' program with Comanche County Memorial Hospital Foundation starts at the beginning of every year. This year, it ends at the beginning of March.