Paula Eyvonne Steinbach – Recipient of the 2015 Kjell Tovander Award
The Long Road to Better Health
Paula Eyvonne Steinbach is a great role model – to Girl Scout troops (Paula led weekly troops in her community and planned and led Girl Scouts on three trips to Europe) and the high school English and History students she has taught for over 30 years!
Paula is a disabled (PTSD and war related injury)Vietnam Veteran who despite severe arthritis in her back and leg, leg length discrepancy as a result of childhood spinal scoliosis (which qualified her as a mobility impaired participant in the Boston Marathon in 2015), has steadfastly endured constant chronic pain along the difficult and sometimes seemingly impossible road to her 100th marathon which she hopes to conquer this month!
Everyday Paula wears her race shirts and shares her medals with her students. She loves to tell them, “If your old lady teacher can do it, so can you!” She is constantly sharing with them the benefits and healthy eating and exercise. She knows better than most – since 2001, Paula has lost 115 pounds!
Paula proudly raises funds running for Team Red White and Blue, a nationwide organization that helps veterans transition from military war deployment back to civilian life. Paula spent five years in the military as the third female Torpedoman’s Mate in the Navy. She was a true pioneer in an all male career field.
Though each race poses a difficult challenge for Paula, and many would be grimacing in pain, Paula is always smiling. She says she focuses on that moment she will cross the finish line. “That makes everything worthwhile!”
Paula is especially happy about achieving the goal she made when she first began her running program – to be able to wear her Navy uniform. At age 60, she can and does wear her uniform on Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day, when she carries the Navy flag during Memorial Day services.
Paula will be running her 102nd marathon and her second Route 66 Marathon in 2015. She loves this race because Route 66 is such a historic US landmark. Paula uses her races to teach geography to her students as they map out her travels together.