Physical Activity Leaders

Physical Activity Leaders

Physical Activity Leaders (PALs) guide and support adults to be more physically active through Active Ottumwa. Below are biographies of some Active Ottumwa PALs. Check for their classes on the Active Ottumwa Facebook page.






Betty and Remi Panlaqui

Betty and Remi Panalqui became PALs to lead other walkers, friends, and neighbors in consistent walking groups.  so they could lead other walkers, friends, and neighbors of all ages in consistent walking groups. Betty and Remi know walking groups can improve physical health, emotional stability, and social interaction. They wanted to share their love of walking with the Ottumwa community. They have been very successful! Betty and Remi volunteer in other ways like leading Active Ottumwa in the Octoberfest parade. When they are not helping their neighbors get active, they enjoy gardening and reading books. Betty is interested in crafting. Remi enjoys games like Scrabble and Solitaire.




Brandy Vanderpol

Brandy Vanderpol had many reasons to become a PAL. She says, “I like the idea of getting to converse with others and doing something to better our health at the same time. I have also been wanting to do something to get more involved with the community and what better way than to do it with something that betters each of us!” That commitment to health and her community led Brandy to start a walking group. Her passion also extends to traveling! Each year she takes a trip with her husband to somewhere new. She enjoys spending time with family, reading, bowling, Mahjong, and Sudoku.





Christie Starr

Christie became a PAL because she liked the idea of encouraging physical activity in groups, meeting other members of the community, and promoting a healthy lifestyle. She combined her interest in Active Ottumwa with her love for walking to create a walking group. In addition to walking, Christie also enjoys reading and online games.






Dana Overturf

Dana Overturf promoted physically active lifestyles before she became a PAL. She first heard of Active Ottumwa while working as a YMCA fitness trainer. Her passion for helping people get fit and the accessibility of Active Ottumwa drove her to become a PAL. Dana enjoys spending family time, cooking, music, reading, growth groups (Bible Studies), and walks with her friends and family.






Jo and Vern Slaymaker

Vern is known in Ottumwa not only for his love of square dancing, but also for his years as a chemistry teacher at Ottumwa High School. Vern enjoys fishing and walking with Jo. Jo supports Robin Ragen by assisting with record keeping for the square dance activity. Jo also dances when not gardening, walking, or bird watching. Jo and Vern hope to share their love of square dancing with other generations.






Mary Hart

When Mary Hart was asked to be a PAL, Mary eagerly said yes! As a certified Tai Chi instructor, she thought others may be interested in trying this activity. They were! Tai Chi was one of the longest running and most popular Active Ottumwa activities. Mary also enjoys reading and watching mysteries, walking, going to youth sporting events, and visiting family.






Marylou LaRose

Marylou was the creator of Water Walking with Active Ottumwa. Because of its popularity, it grew to be a daily class. When Marylou could not share her love of water for a short time, she kept supporting Active Ottumwa. Through Marylou’s connections, two facilities allowed her to use their space to lead Water Walking. Both of these classes were well attended due to her energy. While not in the water, Marylou enjoys babysitting her grandchildren along with caring for the older dogs she has adopted.





Pam Ward 

Pam sees being a PAL as a big value and benefit to both her and the community. A lifelong resident of Ottumwa, she gladly seized the chance to lead activities and keep Ottumwa moving. Pam attended the most Active Ottumwa activities of any program participant. She has led activities like Body Groove and Light Stretching. These offer fun ways to stay active. In her spare time, she enjoys gardening, motorcycle riding, traveling, helping with home projects, and spending time with her grand kids.



Robin Ragen


Robin Ragen

Robin is the “caller” for square dance lessons and has danced for many years. Robin also enjoys fishing, golfing, and hunting. Whatever the season, Robin stays active and is happy to share his love of square dancing with others.







Stacie Rogan

Stacie initially got involved with Active Ottumwa to try the different activities for free before committing to a gym membership. She was excited to lead activities and thought others in Ottumwa may share her interest. She was right! Stacie held a video Yoga class, Body Groove, and Light Stretching. When she is not doing Active Ottumwa activities, she walks with people and learns about rats, nutrition, and all things body. Stacie is a self-described “education nut.”