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Parkinson Disease….Some Help Is Available

Posted by Pete | Posted in News | Posted on 05-03-2019


I am so please to have Otis Vaughn guest write for me again here at Hesterbooks.com. We have been best friends since high school back in Reform, Alabama….No, we did not attend a reform school but we did attend Pickens County High School in Reform, Al…..A few years ago Otis became aware that he had Parkinson’s, news that scared him and his friends. Talking to Otis today you would never know that…..Well, now he still does talk slow, but it’s a “Alabama slow” and not “Parkinson’s slow”. We published the Part 1 of two parts first, so remember to scroll on down and read part one and then come back to Part 2.

How wonderful to read in Part 2, Otis’s own words when he says, “….most people do not know I have PD. I live and enjoy a completely normal life……..and “I give Rock Steady Boxing the credit for providing the means for me to live an ordinary life.” What wonderful words to hear.

I am hoping that this message is spread on the world wide web so that others may benefit from Rock Steady Boxing. Many thanks to Carolyn Rhodes, Otis Vaughn and Rock Steady Boxing for allowing me to publish this article.

Parkinson’s….Boxing Helps…Part 2

Posted by Pete | Posted in Downloads, News | Posted on 05-03-2019


Rock Steady Boxing Part II

A personal statement on benefits of RSB

Authored by Otis Vaughn

February 28, 2019

Rock Steady Boxing (RSB) really works and greatly slows the progression of Parkinson’s Disease!

The leader of the Huntsville, AL Rock Steady Boxing Rocket City (RSBRC) is Mrs. Carolyn Rhodes. Carolyn became intimately interested and invested in Rock Steady Boxing when her husband Jim Rhodes was diagnosed with PD. Carolyn was the driving force in organizing and starting RSBRC. Carolyn and Jim were trained in coaching RSB in Indianapolis. She has done an excellent job, and Jim, and now others with PD, have reaped the benefits as he was one of the original participants and his PD symptoms have decreased considerably since he started boxing. When the average person sees Jim, they would never guess that he has PD. Jim has been a great encouragement to the others who have been diagnosed with PD and have joined our local program. RSBRC was started in June 2016.

Our lead coach is named Dallas. Dallas organizes all our exercises, and he keeps us from being bored by having different exercises for us to do each week. The one constant from week to week is we always do boxing exercises. We usually work on a dozen or so exercises each session with each exercise timed to last four minutes, and when we finish all the exercises, we work through the circuit of exercises again. Dallas has a loud penetrating voice that is easily heard above the loud music. Dallas keeps us moving. We have little if any slack time. Dallas and the other coaches make sure our sessions are fun.

Another lead coach is Snoop. As new PD patients join the group, Snoop teaches them the basics of boxing for several weeks before they join the main group. Snoop’s job is to conduct a basic “boot camp” with new boxers so they can keep up with the rest of the boxers when they join the group.

It has been said that PD should be considered a family of diseases. That may very well be true because almost every PD patient seems to have different symptoms. When I started boxing my symptoms were: whole body tremors and especially my hands; not being able to walk in a straight line; poor balance; difficulty swallowing; digestive problems; speaking slower, lower, and softer than previously; and a tendency to lean left while walking.

Every day our exercise routine is started by all boxers sitting in a big circle and stating our names loudly enough to be heard clearly on the other side of the circle. After we state our names, we loudly answer some question that is designed to get us to exercise our vocal cords. This vocalization of our names plus speaking some additional information exercises our vocal cords since one’s voice is usually affected by PD. In the pictures shown in the following paragraphs boxers wear yellow shirts.


Our circle of boxers as we start the day.

After this introduction, we do warm-up exercises that are led by Dallas or one of the other coaches. Our coaches are experts at giving us exercises that are designed to stretch and warmup our bodies. After warmup, we are ready to begin the exercises.

                                           Boxers punching the heavy bags.

A boxer punching the heavy tear shaped bag. This bag is good for practicing upper cuts. Other boxers are shadow boxing so they will be ready to punch the heavy bags.

There are many ways a heavy bag can be pounded and punched on the floor.

We also punch the torso training bag which is named Dallas, Jr. It is impossible for a boxer to knock Dallas, Jr. down.

There are a number of other forms of exercise we do including hitting the speed bags, riding stationary bikes, riding the elliptical machine, hitting plastic shopping bags, lifting weights, using 40″ PVC pipe to do exercises, jumping and running on a trampoline, bouncing heavy balls off the wall, plus many more. There is no end to Dallas’s creativity.

RSB has many doctors who support the program as well as therapists who provide tremendous help in teaching us how to manage our PD symptoms.

Now I want to say what RSB has done for me. Almost all the symptoms I mention in an above paragraph have been greatly diminished in their effect on me. Most people do not know I have PD. I live and enjoy a completely normal life. I have to say that I am not completely healed, and I still take medication for PD every day. I give RSB the credit for providing the means for me to live an ordinary life. I realize that I have the personal responsibility to practice what I am taught, and that practice must include everything I do every day. For example, PD tends to make me walk leaning toward my left. Every day for the rest of my life, I must make myself stand and walk straight and resist the urge to lean left…. and it is so with my other PD symptoms. I must take responsibility for my life. I am approaching being 84 years old, and life is very good!!! Keep moving. Keep boxing. Keep exercising.

After we have completed cool down exercises, we are ready to close out the day. At the end of the exercise day, we gather in a tight circle where we are touching each other. Dallas or one of the other coaches leads us in repeating a poem in very loud voices. The coaches write different poems for each day. The following poem, written by Dallas, is appropriately read only if one shouts the words … we need that vocal exercise!


Parkinson’s and Rock Steady had a fight,

Early in the morning and through the night.

Parkinson’s was a worthy foe,

Rock Steady Boxing stole the show.

Parkinson’s started with a sucker punch,

Rock Steady countered and ate his lunch.

Parkinson’s opened his bag of tricks,

Rock Steady hit him like a ton of bricks.

Parkinson’s had to take a standing 8 count,

Rock Steady knew this was a rout.

Parkinson’s staggered and fell against the rope,

Rock Steady charged with joy and hope.

No mas no mas Parkinson’s said.

Rock Steady boxers hit him in the head.

Shout it out loud,

Victory, Victory, Rock Steady is proud!!!

We have many coaches and volunteers who help us every day without pay or compensation of any kind. They perform a wonderful service. We simply would not be able to perform without their help!!! I am sure all the boxers say many, many thanks to them!!! We thank the coaches who have paid the price in time and money to coach us: Allen, Anne, Armand, Carolyn, Dallas, Derrik, Erin, Jim, John, Julie, MC, Ru, Russ, and Susan. We thank the volunteers who dedicate so many hours of their time each week: Angela, Arlan, Bob, Bruce, Chuck, Clint, Daniel, Elena, Erin, Eva, Jane, Jo, Kandy, Maggi, Mary, Mike, Pam, Peggy, Renee, Tamara, and Vicki.


Parkinson’s… and Boxing Helps…You Kidding Me? Part 1

Posted by Pete | Posted in Downloads, News | Posted on 03-03-2019


Rock Steady Boxing

Part 1

Introduction to Rock Steady Boxing in Huntsville, Alabama

Coauthored by Carolyn Rhodes & Otis Vaughn February 28,2019

Those with Parkinson’s Disease now have Rock Steady Boxing as a proven way to fight back against the devastating effects of the disease. This article introduces those who have PD, as well as their families, to the health benefits you can achieve with Rock Steady Boxing.

The authors of this article are based in Huntsville, Alabama. As you read this article you will notice that we call our organization: Rock Steady Boxing Rocket City. Rock Steady comes from the benefits that boxing provides to those with PD and gives them the hope that their shaking and other symptoms will calm down and they will be rock steady because of their participation in boxing.Huntsville, AL is called the Rocket City because much of the original rocket development and production in the U.S. was done on the U.S. Army’s Redstone Arsenal located adjacent to Huntsville. At the conclusion of WWII, Dr. Wernher von Braun and his group of German scientists and engineers surrendered to the Americans, and the U.S. government located them in Huntsville so they could work on Redstone Arsenal and develop our missile and space industry. These brilliant scientists and engineers became U.S. citizens, and they did indeed lead our efforts as we learned to build and did, in fact, build many rockets and other items necessary for space exploration. The largest rocket ever built is named the Space Launch System and is being managed and built in Huntsville. That is why the citizens of Huntsville, AL takes great pride in calling our city the The Rocket City.

There are Rock Steady Boxing organizations all over the U.S. and even internationally.Those wanting to participate in Rock Steady Boxing should be able to find an organization that sponsors RSB in their own city or community. We are an affiliate of the National and International Rock Steady Boxing organization. Our organization has grown so rapidly and with such success that Rock Steady Boxing Rocket City has been named one of the six regional training organizations in the U.S., and we will assume that role on April 20, 2019. Many coaches will come to Huntsville to be trained in coaching Rock Steady Boxing.

When you finish reading Part I of this article, remember to continue to read Part II which is a personal account by one who has benefited from Rock Steady Boxing.

RSB Mission Statement: Rock Steady Boxing helps people with Parkinson’s disease maintain their physical independence, improve their quality of life and restore confidence and dignity while they wait for a cure. RSB empowers people with Parkinson’s to “fight back”. Boxers condition for optimal agility, speed, muscular endurance, accuracy, hand-eye coordination, footwork and overall strength to defend against and overcome opponents. At RSB, Parkinson’s is the opponent.

Rock Steady Boxing Rocket City is a non-contact boxing program that was developed to help fight the effects of Parkinson’s disease. Several medical studies over a twelve-year period have concluded that the Forced, Intense, Explosive action of boxing training is an effective form of exercise for people living with PD. This fitness program is dramatically improving the ability of people with Parkinson’s to live independent lives, increasing their self-worth, sense of efficacy and quality of life. Recent studies also show that this form of exercise may be “neuro-protective,” actually working to delay the progression of symptoms.

Rock Steady Boxing is a first-of-its-kind organization dedicated to improving the quality of life of people diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Patients at all levels of symptom progression are seeing improved motor function as a result of intense non-contact, boxing style exercise. We’re proud to say that Rock Steady Boxing Rocket City has joined the fight against Parkinson’s disease right here in Huntsville!

Medical research is proving early validation of the effects of forced or intense exercise:

In the words of the neurological specialists:

“Twenty-five percent of my patients come from Rock Steady… the changes to their speech, to their cognition, are much slower in those patients. They don’t get worse as quickly, and they tend to be better cognitively for longer.” – Jessica Huber, Speech, Language & Hearing Sciences Associate Professor, Purdue University

“The results from Rock Steady are awesome and impressive…at the end of a two-year study; the boxers had much better results than those who did typical exercise three days each week.” Stephanie Combs-Miller, PT, Ph.D., NCS Associate Professor and Director of Research, Krannert School of PT, U of Indianapolis

Rock Steady Boxing Rocket City was brought to the community through the Huntsville Madison County Senior Center but serves adults with Parkinson’s of any age. We are one of 713 Rock Steady Boxing affiliates world-wide.

We meet at a local gym where our 50 volunteers help our 117 plus ‘boxers’ find that HOPE is in their corner.

We have started to accomplish our goal in that, when people are diagnosed with Parkinson’s in our community, their doctor follows that diagnosis with, “but there is a gym down the street where you can fight back and find HOPE.”

General Information:

FUNDING FOR QUALITY OF LIFE: Millions of dollars are allocated each year by Parkinson’s foundations to “find a cure”. While that is a very noble and necessary endeavor, there are few organizations that are focusing on quality of life TODAY. Rock Steady Boxing aims to improve the quality of life for people living with Parkinson’s, until a cure is found.

Funds will be used to support operating expenses to include volunteer training, additional coach certification, independent contractor fees, to increase hours of part-time staff, add additional staff, equipment, insurance, utility and gym rental fees.

Rock Steady is promoted through local and regional neurologist referrals, the Senior Center’s monthly Senior Life Magazine with a publication of 6,000, word of mouth, multiple local media outlets and ongoing presentations to professional organizations.

Dr. Amit Arora asked us to give a presentation to the annual Neurology Conference in May of 2018 because he wanted to spread the word about his Parkinson’s patients that are boxers successfully managing their symptoms. He and his office staff stated that they can see when a patient walks in the office which ones are boxers by their posture, gait, voice, strength and confidence. Since Parkinson’s is a degenerative disease, their patients usually get worse, but since taking part in RSB, they see improvements in their patients for the first time!

How Rock Steady Boxing Rocket City is Financed

Communities recognizing the need for Rock Steady boxing will need to raise their own funds to support the program. In Huntsville, we are fortunate to have dedicated leadership and the medical community support for our program. Our local doctors recognize the benefits of Rock Steady Boxing, and they encourage their patients to participate. Our total budget is $75,000 per year.

Boxers pay $35 each per month (120 active boxers, with 38 inactive currently). We are adding 6 boxers on average each month.

Coach certification costs $500 for each coach. We sponsor the training for 3 new coaches per year.

Head Coach stipend is $500 each month.

Boxing Coach Stipend is $250 each month.

Utility Bill $150-$500 a month.

Gym Rental Fee $2800 a month

Our next Goal is: Ownership of 10-12,000 square ft building on 2 acres for North Alabama Parkinson’s Support Center where many programs can be held such as: The PD Support Group, Rock Steady Boxing, PD Dance Program, LOUD Crowd Voice Program ©, PD Music, PD Yoga, PD Cycling etc. The estimated cost for this facility is $3,000,000.

Japan’s Abe Won’t Confirm Nobel Nomination For Trump

Posted by Pete | Posted in News | Posted on 19-02-2019


In this morning’s Albuquerque Journal, Feb. 19, 2019, Simon Denver and Akiko Kashiwagi of The Washington Post write that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan will not confirm he nominated President Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize. He said that he would like to refrain from giving a comment. The same article stated that Junya Ogawa, a opposition lawmaker, said it was “unthinkable” for Abe to have nominated a man who had pulled out of the Intermediate-Range nuclear Forces Treaty, The Paris climate change accord and the Iran nuclear deal, started a trade war with China, moved the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, Promoted “America First” and who wants to build a wall on the Mexican border….. Well, I think some of the reasons he should be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize is Trump pulled us out of the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, pulled us out of the Iran nuclear deal, fought for tariffs on goods from China, moved the U. S. embassy to Jerusalem, promoted America First, building a wall on the Mexican border or stepping up security there, made NATO step up to the plate on NATO countries paying their fair share and stopped sending aid to those countries that “hate America”….. President Trump has his backers but we never seem to hear from them. Wonder why that is? Do you suppose it is as President Trump says and the media is unfair and even upset because they missed the American peoples feelings in the last election?…..If so, they would never admit it, would they?

God…The True God

Posted by Pete | Posted in News | Posted on 13-02-2019


 Genesis, Chapter One, Verse One

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Gospel of John,

Chapter One, Verse One: In the beginning was the Word and the Word was God.

Chapter One, Verse 14 The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us.

Chapter One, Verse 17 For the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

Chapter Fourteen, Verse 6 I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through t me.

Chapter Fourteen, Verse 7 If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. from now on, you know him and have seen him.

Now, I am a Christian. I believe in Jesus. Jesus is the son of the true and only God. There is no other. To say there are other Gods is an untruth. People do follow ones they call god, but they are following false god(s).

That’s all I got to say about that…

Mt. Taylor New Mexico

Posted by Pete | Posted in News | Posted on 18-01-2019


Yesterday while coming back from an Albuquerque eastside visit I looked far across the horizon to see Mt. Taylor and the San Mateo Mountains covered with snow. It is a distance of about 80 miles but the snow covered peaks really stood out against the beautiful blue sky. Mt. Taylor is about 11,300 feet nowadays. Once, before a volcanic  eruption reduced it’s size, estimates are that is was from 16,000 to 25,000 feet in elevation. The lava and volcanic debris is spread out across a big area south of the mountain and extending south of Interstate 40 for many miles. A lot of folks don’t realize that Mt. Taylor is a scared mountain to the Navajo, the Acoma, the Hopi, the Laguna and the Zuni people. It is a beautiful sight to behold, especially when snow covered….

In Memory of Phyllis Jo Gregory…3/15/61 – 1/13/17

Posted by Pete | Posted in News | Posted on 12-01-2019


It has been two years since the passing of our youngest daughter, Phyllis Jo Gregory,  and we still miss her so much. Words cannot express the emptiness inside  of each of us. The words of the Susan Boyle song, “Arms Of The Angel” express some of how we feel.

800,000 Not Being Paid…Shameful

Posted by Pete | Posted in News | Posted on 09-01-2019


It may be the Congress of The United States or it may be the President of The United States and it may be both and it may be some other stuff, but what ever it is should immediately be fixed. 800,000 folks not getting a pay check when they have bills to pay and children to feed. I say to both of you or to anyone else involved……GET OFF YOU LAZY ASS AND GET THIS FIXED….It is shameful that Americans have to suffer because of you high paid ass holes sitting on you rear end while so many of your fellow Americans suffer. What is wrong with you people. Your belly is full, your bills are being paid, your bank account is in good shape and I’m thinking that what “goes around, comes around” and I feel like your day is coming…..That’s all I got to say about that…

New Mexico Ranch Land…An Example of Countryside

Posted by Pete | Posted in News | Posted on 23-12-2018


Did you ever wonder just what a working corral on a New Mexico Ranch looks like. Well, this one is idle today but come round up time it will be pretty busy with a bunch of real cowboys. There is not a lot of water, except for the tank in the center, but there is a wind mill to the right side of the corral.  (Can you imagine anyone walking across this country for miles and miles, especially with a family….No, I can’t either.)


Antelope Wells, NM Port of Entry ..Update 1/19/19

Posted by Pete | Posted in News | Posted on 23-12-2018


Antelope Hills Point of Entry

This is a picture of the border crossing facilities at Antelope Wells, NM where little 7 year old Jakalin Caal Maquin and her family came to when turning themselves over to our Border Patrol. There is another building close by that is a little more accommodating and modern than what you see here.  No medical facilities, no doctors, no treatment centers, four (4) agents work this place working 8 day shifts because of the long distance to their homes. Lordsburg, NM is about 90 miles north and has limited medical and about the same to Deming, a little larger that Lordsburg but also with limited medical facilities. There is a small hospital there but serious cases are flown to El Paso or Albuquerque for treatment. There are some small communities on the roads thru there but no treatment for any ailments of any kind. So any families arriving at Antelope Wells from the south walking and turning themselves in would be processed at the above station. This is where the little girl and her family arrived after their march across the barren  desert of Mexico and expecting to get help. I am so sorry there was no  facilities there to help her but I’m not sure if there had been that she could have been saved, since the doctors were at least an hour or better away from there. Putting the blame of her death on the shoulders of the Border Patrol is a terrible thing to do. They had nothing to work with and certainly they were not expecting visitors with a sick little girl to be coming into their station. But, somehow, all the liberals are blaming the present Administration as the culprit in her death…..I don’t have all the facts either, however, I have enough to know that all of us should be very slow to place blame on any American in this tragedy.

UPDATE: The democrats said today after Trump’s speech that the border was sufficiently guarded at the ports of entries where the migrants were seeking asylum and were well able to handle the job. Evidently they missed my postings on hesterbooks.com. Four agents to handle 150 migrants that showed up last week…..The democrats may not even read the newspapers…If Trump would tweet that info they sure see it…