MUSCOGEE COUNTY, Ga.- On August 24, 2016, Muscogee County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. James Rich will challenge Sheriff John Darr in a PT test at Lakebottom Park. The test consists of a mile and half run, 300M run, 50 push-ups and 50 sit-ups.
Sergeant James Rich has been working harder than ever, not just for the showdown but for himself and his job.
Rich says he was involved in a physical altercation at the jail in 2014, which resulted in him to have surgery. He stopped breathing in surgery, which made him quit smoking. After the surgery, his rehab process began. During that process, Sgt. Rich says he would seclude himself in his apartment because he did not want people to see him in a weakened condition. In that time, Sgt. Rich’s weight hit 400 pounds, an all-time high. There was a time where Sgt. Rich thought he may not be able to return to his dream job in law enforcement. There came a point when he came home from rehab where he tried to put his uniform on and he was unable to. For Sgt. Rich, his whole world collapsed.
He knew he had to do something. When he became full-status again, he began to push himself harder than he’d ever worked. This was not only for him, but for his job. He said, “At anytime, we can be attacked in this facility, that’s in every jail across the nation. I never wanna tell myself I’m at that point because there’s someone always ahead of me. If I’m running a mile, someone’s running two miles. If I’m lifting 135, there’s someone benching 315.”
Sgt. Rich says his co-workers and countless others are with him each step of the way.
He also says he has the support of the inmates. He told me the story of his prepared meals. The other officers he works with are trying to get bigger, while he’s trying to lose weight. His co-workers had large containers of food, while he had a small container. An inmate came up to them and said, “y’all are trying to get huge.” She looked at Sgt. Rich and said, “baby, you must be on a diet.” He replied, “yes ma’am, I am.”
Since starting, he has lost close to 60 pounds, but does not check the scales anymore. He instead uses his belt as a measure. “Right now, the belt I’ve got on, when I went to put it on, it wouldn’t even touch,” Sgt. Rich said. “Right now, I’m at the last hole on it. I’m not planning on buying another belt. I’m gonna make my own holes in this belt until it busts.”
Sgt. Rich says his goal is to get down to 220 pounds, and once he gets there he will set another goal. He hopes this journey will be an inspiration to those who need an extra push for success.