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Florida Department of Health Santa Rosa County Presents Billy Mills - Evening of Inspiration

By Dana Grissom, PIO

March 28, 2022

Milton, FL. -  The Florida Department of Health in Santa Rosa County (DOH Santa Rosa) proudly welcomes Olympic Gold Medalist Billy Mills to the Santa Rosa County Auditorium on April 8, 2022, at 7:00 PM. Santa Rosa County Auditorium is located at 4530 Spikes Way in Milton, Florida. Registration for the event is available at Billy Mills - Evening of Inspiration. Admission to the event is free but registration is required.   

In the 1964 Olympic Games, held in Tokyo, Billy Mills became the first and only American to win the Olympic gold medal in the 10,000-meter run. His victory spurred excitement in the sports world and is considered one of the greatest upsets in Olympic history.  Today, Mills is an accomplished businessman, author, motivational speaker, and National Spokesperson for Running Strong for American Indian Youth which he co-founded in 1986. Through Running Strong, he has spent 26 years lifting other young men and women toward their aspirations and has championed wellness and unlocked opportunities in Native American communities across America.    

Mills is a great advocate for health, not just physically, but spiritually and mentally too. His message is truly inspirational for those who are suffering from diseases, like diabetes, in hopes that they renew their health. He was able to overcome the challenges presented by diabetes to will a gold medal in the 10,000-meter run. The story of his achievement is inspirational to people of all ages, abilities, and cultures.  

“I met Billy at the Poarch Band of Creek Indians Pow-Wow in Atmore, Alabama 30 years ago. He made an impression I will never forget. We are grateful he accepted my invitation to come and speak about diabetes prevention and management, setting goals, and sharing about his work with Running Strong for American Indian Youth,” said Santa Rosa County Health Department Administrator, Matthew Dobson.   

Mills was born and raised on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.  Although Pine Ridge is very rich in culture and spirit, it is continually recognized economically as one of the poorest communities in America with unemployment reaching 80%.  

Mills was orphaned by the age of 12 and sent to boarding schools.  He graduated from high school at Haskell Indian School where he became involved in distance running and earned an athletic scholarship to the University of Kansas. Upon graduating from the University of Kansas, Billy was commissioned as an officer in the United States Marine Corps., and continued training for the Olympic Team.  He made the 1964 Olympic Team in two events, the marathon and the 10,000-meter run.  He trained his body, mind, and soul for peak performance and the world was about to see what has been called the second greatest moment in Olympic history.  

As part of the DOH-Santa Rosa’s efforts in promoting a healthy and active lifestyle, we invite him to present his program to the citizens of Santa Rosa County. The presentation is an opportunity to reach those populations within our community that are disproportionately affected by chronic diseases, such as diabetes, and provide education on the importance of good nutrition and exercise in maintaining good health.  

For additional information regarding this event, please contact Erin Moore at 850-564-2303 or Erin.Moore2@flhealth.gov

For additional information on Billy Mills or Running Strong for American Indian Youth visit Home - Indian Youth.  

About the Florida Department of Health in Santa Rosa County 

The Florida Department of Health in Santa Rosa County, nationally accredited as part of an Integrated Local Public Health Department System by the Public Health Accreditation Board, works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts. 

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