In 2002, our little department of 4 (3 physical therapists and 1 receptionist) wanted to find a way to promote National Physical Therapy Month in October while encouraging physical activity and community involvement. We came up with the idea of the Soup Walk – you could get a little exercises and enjoy delicious soup afterward.
The first annual Soup Walk was held on the Square. We invited the community members to come downtown, take a walk around the square and then grab some soup before going back about their day. We had less than stellar attendance that year. I do not recall the exact number, but it was less than 35 people. Due to the limited participants and inability for most of the hospital staff to attend, we decided to move the Soup Walk to the hospital campus.
The location was the first of many things to change. Our Windom Area Health therapy staff has changed and has continued to grow over the last 20 years from 4 staff members on our team to 9. We now have 5 physical therapists (PT), 1 physical therapist assistant (PTA), 1 occupational therapist (OT), 1 speech therapist (ST) and 1 receptionist. We also have 3 PRN (as needed) staff, including a PT, an OT, and an ST. While we still do the Soup Walk in October in honor of Physical Therapy month, it has really evolved into celebration and promotion of our entire Rehabilitation staff, as well as the Windom area community, while encouraging continued physical activity for all ages.
This year marked our 20th annual Soup Walk and it was held on October 13th. We set up a walking path in a portion of the parking lot. For those that are a little more ambitious, we encourage them to take a trip around our Be Well Path. All participants end up in the ambulance garage for their choice of chili or chicken wild rice soup, a grilled cheese sandwich, hot apple cider and a delicious assortment of desserts (homemade by our amazing Rehabilitation staff). Despite the very brisk weather we had an outstanding turn out and served 142 people, making this year, our 20th anniversary, our highest attended Soup Walk ever!
While we love our Rehabilitation Team, we couldn’t pull this off alone! A big “Thank You” to our entire Windom Area Health Team including the Nutrition Services Department for making the soups and allowing us to use all of their supplies, the Maintenance Department for cleaning up the ambulance garage and helping with set up, and the Marketing Department for helping us get the word out! We also want to thank the Windom Area community for the continued support of our Rehabilitation Department! We look forward to serving you for many years to come.
By Terri Elder, MSPT, Rehabilitation Director