A year ago, Benji Willis, 16, ran off 102 pounds on his treadmill in the family living room in Ripley. "It just comes natural now. I get out of bed, get on the treadmill and run."
Benji's parents, James and Jane Willis, have supported their son since day one, despite his treadmill taking up so much space. "I'm not crazy about having the treadmill taking up so much of the living room," says Jane, "but our house is too small to put it anywhere else, and we know how important it is to him. We're here to support him any way we can."
Members of Benji's church youth group noticed the change in his appearance right away, and encouraged him to go on. "That helped so much, just people encouraging me. Those little comments kept me going."
When Benji turned 16, 100 pounds lighter, he came closer to realizing his dream of becoming a volunteer firefighter. He joined the Ripley VFD as a trainee. His father, a veteran firefighter in Charleston, joined with him.