Letter from Lou Von Thaer, CEO of DynCorp International and chair of the 2016 Greater Washington Heart Walk
It’s no secret that heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death in the United States. What is less known is that today’s youth make up the first American generation expected to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents.
This is a troubling fact, but the good news is that the American Heart Association (AHA) is committed to reversing this trend by fighting heart disease and stroke. It does so, in part, through annual Heart Walks across the country.
This is a cause I believe in. And it’s a fight we can win. That is why I am deeply gratified to serve as this year’s chair of the Greater Washington Heart Walk. To make sure we reach our goal of raising $2.5 million in Washington, I want to encourage other Washington-area companies and executives to get involved – whether that’s through serving on the Executive Committee, investing in this important event or sponsoring teams for the Walk.
At my company, DynCorp International (DI), cardiovascular conditions account for our biggest health insurance costs and take a large human toll on the people we care for and depend upon. That’s true for most organizations, which should make involvement in the Heart Walk a natural choice for companies and their corporate responsibility programs. And chances are that companies will find other shared focuses with the AHA. At DI, where almost half of our workforce are veterans, supporting the U.S. military is a top priority. That’s true too for the AHA, through programs and alliances with veterans’ groups.
Another goal of the AHA is to reverse the trend of childhood obesity. There are countless reasons to support this objective, but to name just one: doing so will improve the military’s recruiting efforts by fostering future generations of healthy individuals able to have the opportunity to serve.
I am challenging my company to “get healthy” this year. The Greater Washington Heart Walk will be our starting point, not just by encouraging people to get more active, but by bringing additional awareness and education concerning heart disease to the attention of our team.
At DI, we like to say “We serve today for a better tomorrow.” The work of the AHA is also aimed at securing a better tomorrow. Please consider supporting this important cause by forming a team and joining us on November 5th. Register today at www.GreaterWashingtonHeartWalk.org.
Lou Von Thaer
CEO, DynCorp International