By Sarah Elise
What all began with needing something more than her current gym was offering … turned into a love and passion for getting stronger and leading a healthier lifestyle. Coming hot off of a broken elbow after being hit and run over while on duty, she walked into her first bootcamp in November ‘21 and hasn’t looked back. As she celebrates ONE YEAR as a Lashley Training Center member this month, it’s only fitting that Jessica Butler be nominated and awarded with the prestigious title of November’s Member of the Month.
Born into a military family in Portsmouth, Virginia, Jess and her family moved to her mom’s neck of the woods in upstate New York at age seven after her dad retired from the Navy. A bit of back and forth between the two until graduating from a NY Academy in ‘99, it wasn’t until they moved again to her dad’s hometown of Newark, Ohio, that she would eventually remain. Majoring in Criminal Justice at C.O.T.C., she pursued and graduated from the Police Academy in ‘01, and eight months later, diploma in hand - she was ready and willing to serve her community. Almost two decades later - this coming March, Detective / Sergeant Jessica Butler of the Mount Vernon Police Department is kicking A$$ at community kickball games and representing the Blue and White proudly.
Knox county not only offered her a home and career, but through mutual friends, it also offered up Kevin, Mount Vernon native, and the peanut butter to her jelly. Married now for 17 years and counting, they have successfully parented two sons - Greg (23) and Zach (17) - along with two dogs - Lexi Lou (a Lab-mix rescue) and Sadie Sue (a Collie-mix). Gracelynn (4) and Paislee (2), their beautiful granddaughters complete the Butler family. Though they lead a low-key lifestyle, they find comfort in weekend getaways to their seasonal spot at Rustic Knolls Campgrounds late spring to fall and also look forward to future bucket list destinations like Montana and possibly Yellowstone again. From land to water, family cruises have become another Butler tradition - taking two so far - to the Western Caribbean - and another two scheduled this 2023!
Aside from protecting civilians, momming, and spoiling her grandbabies, Jess has become a dedicated Bootcamper. At first glance, one could never know the incredible weight loss journey she has been on.
After years of long work hours, fast food, low energy, depression and eventual health issues, Jess made the most important decision of her life: she underwent weight loss surgery in February of 2021. 128 pounds lighter, she was on the road to a healthier and promising lifestyle. Two gyms later, with no one to advise or instruct, and only high school basketball and softball as prerequisites, her nutritionist suggested she cut cardio and start lifting weights to prevent more weight loss. With a Facebook ad to thank, one bootcamp with Sarah got her hooked, “Everyone was so helpful and welcoming,” she commented, “It didn’t feel like anyone was judging me, and Sarah modified anything I couldn’t do with my broken elbow.” “It felt like home,”
she added. Within a month, her second born had jumped into bootcamps with her, toting kettlebells through the warehouse parking lot, taking orders from some crazy bootcamp lady, but gaining strength and confidence along the way. The two even helped flip tires a half mile up the road in April ‘22 during the Lashley building move. It wasn’t long before Jess hit the mats and cages with Dave for Krav Maga training, essential for her line of work. And, she even got four-year-old Gracelynn involved in the Lashley gymnastics program. Whether family or friend, Jess is responsible for much of our word of mouth advertising and recruiting and has always been a huge supporter of Lashley Training Center.
While Jess is considered a hero to many - given her selfless career choice and amazing weight loss results - she looks to her own mother as her personal hero.
Being a military wife is no easy feat … navigating relationship issues, raising a handful of children, and running a household; yet, she deserves recognition and thanks for many of the momentous occasions in my own life - college, my career, and even meeting my husband. We often don’t realize what it takes until we are much older.
Wise words from our member of the month, and applicable to many aspects of our lives. To all those riddled with Seasonal Depression Disorder or straight up apathy - Jess suggests:
"Just start at Day One. Get it over with - jump in with both feet. Don’t have regrets
and sit around wishing you would have started at the gym. Do it for yourself to feel
stronger and have more energy. Do it for your family who want to see you
healthier and happier."
Though Lashley’s offers a variety of fitness options, “I personally recommend Bootcamp classes to anyone wanting to learn to use machines or different exercises to work certain muscles and for motivation. The bootcamp classes at Lashley's are like
family. Everyone encourages one another. I recently had surgery from an injury and not only have my family members been checking in on me, but my Lashley family have been as well. They have encouraged me to get to the gym, after my Dr. released me for light workouts, and they helped me come up with lighter things I can do. I couldn’t ask for more than that.”
From all of us at Lashley Training Center, we thank you - Jess - for your service, your energy, and your dedication to our gym! Congratulations on being chosen as our November Member of the Month!