Physical Activity Leaders

Physical Activity Leaders

Active Ottumwa is a community-based research project that encourages all adults to be more active. Ottumwa community members and the University of Iowa used the latest research to design this project. Active Ottumwa works with volunteer community members who are trained to be Physical Activity Leaders (PALs) to guide and support adults to be more physically active. Active Ottumwa is for everyone in Ottumwa, and is free AND fun!






Betty and Remmi Panlaqui

Walking group on Tuesday and Thursday at 8:00 am at Quincy Place Mall

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




Brandy Vanderpol

Walking Group on Monday at 6:00 pm the entrance to The Beach Ottumwa

Brandy Vanderpol had many reasons to become a PAL. Among them, 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 dedication to health and her community led Brandy to start her own walking group. Her passion also extends to traveling! Each year she takes a trip with her husband to somewhere they have never been. She enjoys spending time with family, reading, bowling, Mahjong, and Sudoku. Join Brandy in getting active at one of her walking groups!




Christie Starr

Walking group on Saturday 6:00 pm at Quincy Place Mall

Christie Starr may be new to Ottumwa, but she has already created a positive impact on the community. Christie initially became a PAL because she liked the idea of encouraging physical activity in a group setting, meeting other members of the community, and promoting a healthy lifestyle. She combined her interest in Active Ottumwa with her love for walking and created a walking group. In addition to walking, Christie also enjoys reading and online games. Come meet Christie at one of her regular walking groups!




Dana Overturf

Dance Fitness on Thursday at 5:30 pm followed by Cardio Toning at 6:00 pm at Ottumwa Regional Health Care Center

Dana Overturf was promoting physically active lifestyles before she became a PAL. She first heard of Active Ottumwa while she was working as a fitness trainer at the YMCA. Her passion for helping people get fit and healthy, combined with the accessibility of Active Ottumwa, drove her to become a PAL. When Dana is not teaching classes, she enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, music, reading, going to growth groups (Bible Studies), and going on walks with her friends and family. Check out Dana’s Dance Fitness and Cardio Toning classes!




Jo and Vern Slaymaker

Square Dancing on Tuesdays at 7:00 pm at Wilson School

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




Mary Hart

Tai Chi on Saturday at 10:30 am at Ottumwa Regional Health Care Center

When Mary Hart was asked to be a PAL, she enthusiastically said yes! She had an interest in leading Tai Chi as she is a certified instructor and thought others may be interested in participating. It is safe to say they were! Tai Chi is held weekly and is one of the longest running and most popular activities Active Ottumwa has to offer. When she is not leading Tai Chi, Mary enjoys reading and watching mysteries, walking, going to youth sporting events, and visiting her family. You can join Mary each week as she leads Tai Chi!




Marylou LaRose

Water Walking & More on Wednesday at 4:00 pm at the Hampton Inn and Friday at 5:30 pm at the YMCA

Marylou was the creator of Water Walking with Active Ottumwa at another facility that, because of its popularity, grew to be a daily class. When Marylou was unable to share her love of the water with others for a short time, she continued to be a vocal supporter of Active Ottumwa. It was through Marylou’s social and work connections that she was able to secure two different facilities where she now leads Water Walking. Both of these classes are well attended due to her enthusiasm. While not in the water, Marylou enjoys babysitting her grandchildren along with caring for the several older dogs she has adopted. Join Marylou any Wednesday or Friday for a fun time in the water!




Pam Ward Walking group at 8:00 am every day at Quincy Place Mall or the trail at Ottumwa Park, weather permitting

Pam Ward sees being a PAL as a tremendous value and benefit both personally and for the community. As a lifelong resident of Ottumwa, she has enthusiastically seized the opportunity to lead activities and contribute to keeping Ottumwa on the move. Pam is so active with Active Ottumwa she has attended the most activities of all of our participants. Pam has led activities including Body Groove and Light Stretching, offering fun ways for community members to stay active. In her spare time, she enjoys gardening, motorcycle riding, travel, helping with home projects, and spending time with her grandkids. Keep an eye out for activities led by Pam!


Robin Ragen Square Dancing on Tuesday at 7:00 pm at Wilson School

Robin is the “caller” for the square dance lessons and has been involved with dancing for many years. In addition to dancing, Robin 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

Video Led Yoga on Tuesday at 6:00 pm at Ottumwa Regional Health Center

Stacie Rogan initially got involved with Active Ottumwa because she wanted to try the different activities at no cost before committing to an organization with a membership. She was enthusiastic about leading activities and thought others in the Ottumwa community may share her interest and she was right! Stacie now leads a Video-led Yoga class every week and in the past led Body Groove and Light Stretching. When she is not participating in Active Ottumwa, she spends her time talking to people and learning about rats, nutrition, and all things body. Stacie is a self-described “education nut.” We are so lucky to have Stacie as a PAL! Stop by one of her Video-Led Yoga classes!