Progress 2022: Hiking brings new life for Kelley – Yahoo! VoicesApril 15, 2022
Apr. 2—ASHLAND — Right when COVID started shuttering the movie theaters and the school yards, Ashland Police Chief Todd Kelley’s wife said something simple.
“Let’s go on a hike,” the chief recalled. “I said, ‘what do you mean by a hike?'”
So the couple hopped in the car and drove to Red River Gorge and a found a little trail, just a mile out and back to an expansive view of the famous gorge below.
They liked it, so they did what anyone does when they like something — they found themselves another little trail and traipsed through the woods. This one was a loop, which the Kelleys really dug, since walking the whole way around meant they didn’t have to see the same view twice.
That little extemporaneous trip planted a seed for Kelley — a seed that would blossom into hikes and adventures not only in the Tri-State, but to the Carolinas, Tennessee, Virginia and even Chicago.
Before that day in spring 2020, Kelley said he’d been in a cycle of weight loss and gain through the years. With his wife’s encouragement, he got out and started walking around the neighborhood. Through walking — nothing too hard, maybe a lap down to Jack’s Market or around Central Park — Kelley said he started seeing some positive health effects.
Medications he’d been prescribed were reduced. He felt better in his day-to-day. But when Kelley stumbled onto hiking, he said he found something else — he found a “pressure valve” from the stresses of police work.
“For today’s world in law enforcement, we’re trying to promote mental wellness and personal wellness and exercise and taking care of yourself,” he said. “We see the worst of everything. We don’t show up at somebody’s house just for them to call and say, ‘I wanted to see you.’ You’re seeing someone at their worst moment.”
That worst moment could be a homicide, it could be a rape, it could be a theft, it could be an assault. And for police officers, they have to deal with the emotion that comes with witnessing the worst aspects of human nature.
For Kelley, hiking has provided that outlet. Just talking to the chief, one …….