Pete Butler knows how to get things done. The 77-year-old is a military retiree, and also spent time working for U.S. Sen. Richard Stone and representing military and veteran’s affairs for the state of Florida. So when he wanted to take part in a fundraising run for the Parkinson’s Foundation in Tallahassee, Fla., he turned to his support team at Capital Regional Medical Center.

Butler has a Parkinson’s diagnosis, so the run meant a lot to him. He also has had two interventional procedures at Capital Regional over the past decade, and visits the facility three times a week for its Cardiac Wellness Program. He’s a fan of everyone he works with at the hospital, and has built a special relationship with his exercise physiologist, Erin Garmon, ACSMEP-C. When he mentioned the one-mile fun run to Garmon, the two worked up a plan that would get both of them across the finish line.

“I told him it would be a lot of work, and that he’d have to increase his workload,” Garmon says. “He was ready to give it his all, so I put him on a program to increase the intensity of his walks to prepare him for the race. I knew it meant a lot to him, so I also offered to do the run as well to support him.”

The pair finished the race in 16 minutes, 40 seconds, and both were thrilled with the result.

“For me, that mile was not hard, but for Pete it was a great accomplishment and I could tell he was beaming,” Garmon says. “I like to help our patients find something they are interested in, because our goal is to keep them doing the things they like to do. If I can be a part of that, it’s great. Moments like that race, seeing patients do what they never thought they could, or what they were scared to do, in a safe way, that makes my work so rewarding.”

“Erin is the best,” Butler says. “She’s not just ‘doing a job;’ everyone is truly special to her. Halfway through, I stumbled and she literally picked me up before I hit the ground. She was my guardian angel, coaching me all the way. I don’t know what would have happened if she hadn’t been there.”

Want to see the runners in action? Visit bit.ly/HCAPeteButler