August 30th, 2018

// TOPS Recognizes Weight-Loss Royalty

TOPS Recognizes Weight-Loss Royalty

State and Provincial Royalty and International Division Winners Help Organization Surpass 2017 Million Pound Challenge

MILWAUKEE, WI – A key element in any journey to better wellness is recognition, no matter if it’s for a small victory or you have reached the final goal. Members of TOPS Club, Inc. (Take Off Pounds SensiblySM), the nonprofit weight-loss support organization, were recently honored for their weight-loss endeavors at the organization’s annual International Recognition Days (IRD) event.

This year’s IRD, with a theme of “Vive TOPS,” took place Fri., July 13, and Sat., July 14, at the Palais des congrès de Montréal (Montreal Convention Center) in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The festivities recognized TOPS® award winners who, with determination, perseverance, and support from fellow members, achieved the greatest weight loss in 2017.

Jeffery Yersich of Chicago, was named the 2017 International King, losing a total of 348 pounds. Vena Dickinson of Caldwell, Idaho, was crowned 2017 International Queen with a total weight loss of 159 pounds. TOPS® royalty are men and women who, at the end of the year, have officially recorded the largest weight loss from their starting weight, regardless of the time taken to reach their goal.

Although Dickinson was successful at losing 159 pounds through TOPS®, her experiences before joining weren’t without a few trials and tribulations. “Over the years I tried all kinds of diets with no success,” she said. “Once, I even went to a doctor who put me on a plan that included injections, and I lost weight. Unfortunately, I didn’t change my eating habits. When I married my husband, I stopped the shots and I regained all the weight plus more. Again, I experimented with any new diet that promised miracles.”

It wasn’t until Dickinson reached a point where life’s obligations filled her day-to-day, that she made the decision to join TOPS®, so that she could set aside some time to better herself. “My husband, a preacher in a local church, became ill,” she said. “In between caring for him, working a full-time job, and keeping the church going, my weight continued to soar. I had no time left to take care of myself. After the death of my husband, I joined a TOPS® chapter near me and have never regretted that decision.”

Dickinson fully understands the time and effort that are necessary while on the road to weight loss, giving her a newfound sense of appreciation for her accomplishments and future success. “It has taken me 27 years to reach my goal,” she said. “I finally figured out the magic formula – eat less and you lose weight, move more and you lose weight, don’t eat after 6 p.m. and you’ll keep the weight off. It is a daily struggle, but with the help of my TOPS® friends and family, I will continue to fight and win the battle.”

Yersich’s struggle with his weight began in childhood. “As a kid I was always big, always overweight, yet I played every sport there was,” he said. “After high school, I got a great job, but in 2007 I was critically injured while working. Luckily, I was able to go back to work and play some sports, but I kept getting bigger. I stopped socializing with my friends. By the time I was 25, I felt my life was pretty much over.”

At the strong urging of his grandmother, whom he was living with at the time and who was also a TOPS® member, Yersich decided to join TOPS®. Shortly thereafter, Yersich realized that his hard work was paying off. “The numbers started coming down,” he said. “Once I saw that, I was encouraged to join a gym. The small losses I had at first started adding up – 50, 100, 150 pounds lost and more. It seemed like I was 19-years-old, and now I’m 30.”

Yersich is so thrilled with his incredible 348-pound weight loss through TOPS® that he has completely changed his lifestyle and future aspirations. “I’m playing softball again, and just made plans to go on a cruise,” he said. “I actually have a life! I have goals; I want to do a marathon, I want to learn yoga, in addition to many other things that I would like to accomplish.”

“It was wonderful to celebrate our members’ weight-loss successes at IRD,” said Rick Danforth, TOPS® President. “Recognizing their achievements is a crucial component to the TOPS® weight- management philosophy. It demonstrates that ‘regular people,’ just like you and me, can make astonishing modifications to their health—without special foods or stunts.”

International Runners-up, and their respective amounts of weight lost, are as follows:

  • Runner-up to Queen: Joyce Webb, Thunder Bay, ON, 154.5 pounds
  • Runner-up to King: Martin Aune, Pahrump, NV, 144 pounds

International Division Winners are members who lost the most weight of all TOPS® members in their weight division during 2017. Each member was entered into a weight division with others in a similar starting weight range:

Division 1: an adult member’s starting weight for the year was at least 300 pounds but less than 400 pounds.
First Place:
Candy Haslam, Sturgeon Bay, WI, 122.4 pounds
Randy Sherman, San Diego, CA, 129.5 pounds

Second Place:
Tricia Sornberger, Kitchner, ON, 113.6 pounds
Zachery Burr, Conneaut, OH, 109.6 pounds

Division 2: an adult member’s starting weight for the year was at least 250 pounds but less than 300 pounds.
First Place:
Dori Schwartz, San Antonio, TX, 107.6 pounds
Martin Aune, Pahrump, NV, 85 pounds

Second Place:
Zenner Haasch, Mequon, WI, 97.5 pounds
Gerald Hennig, Leduc County, AB, 79.5 pounds

Division 3: an adult member’s starting weight for the year was at least 200 pounds but less than 250 pounds.
First Place:
Barbara Pammer, Oak Forest, IL, 91 pounds
Clifford Clark, Broadview Heights, OH, 65.5 pounds

Second Place:
Mary Anderson, Rochester, NY, 87.4 pounds
Dan Blackmore, Gabriola, BC, 57.5 pounds

Division 4: an adult member’s starting weight for the year was at least 150 pounds but less than 200 pounds.
First Place:
Millie Jones, St. Thomas, ON, 61.5 pounds
Ivan Welsh, Grand Falls Windsor, NL, 37 pounds

Second Place:
Rebecca Zainos, Warren, MI, 59.25 pounds
Robert Green, Detroit, MI, 32.4 pounds

Division 5: an adult member’s starting weight for the year was less than 150 pounds.
First Place:
Robina Storm, Manistee, MI, 50.2 pounds

Division 6: a child’s age at their starting weight for the year was at least 13 years but less than 18 years.
Names withheld for privacy. Inquires will be considered.

Division 7: an adult member’s starting weight for the year was at least 400 pounds.
First Place:
Jennifer Loreman, Brookpark, OH, 112 pounds
Richard Ireland, Grand Bay, AL, 64.6 pounds

Second Place:
Connie Adaire, Perry, OK, 85 pounds
Joe Koehl, Waynesville, OH, 61.25 pounds

Division 8: a child’s age at their starting weight for the year was at least 7 years but less than 13 years.
Names withheld for privacy.

Division 9: an adult member’s weight-loss surgery is still in effect.
First Place:
Sarina Kledzik, Crestwood, IL, 142.25 pounds
Bob (James) Spencer, Red Bluff, CA, 147.25 pounds

Second Place:
Nicol Ramsey, Kennewick, WA, 124.75 pounds
Robert Cliché, North Haverhill, NH, 128 pounds

State Royalty and their respective amounts of weight lost, includes:

Alabama King: Clayton Schwind, Coden, 32 pounds

Alaska Queen: Chrystle Henderson, Kenai, 42 pounds Alaska King: Ted Parsons, Anchorage, 30.6 pounds

Arizona Queen: Ilene Rosenheim, Tucson, 100 pounds
Arizona King: Stephen Malloy, Glendale, 127 pounds

Arkansas Queen: Sharon Lusk, Russellville, 57 pounds
Arkansas King: William Schroeder, Holiday Island, 40 pounds

California Queen: Mary Krueger, Orangevale, 120 pounds

Colorado Queen: Roberta Baker, Westminster, 82 pounds Colorado King: Ed Richmond, Fort Lupton, 28.8 pounds

Connecticut Queen: Kathleen Brooks, Westbrook, 74.2 pounds

Delaware Queen: Linda Mecke, Lewes, 53.25 pounds

District of Columbia Queen: Betty Steward, Washington, 39 pounds

Florida Queen: Debbie Baker, Cape Coral, 144.2 pounds
Florida King: Travis Monsalvatge, Temple Terrace, 56.25 pounds

Georgia Queen: Jan Godwin, Douglas, 77 pounds
Georgia King: Dan Goldman, Covington, 55 pounds

Hawaii Queen: Anna Nicolas, Makawao, 16.5 pounds

Idaho Queen: Vena Dickinson, Caldwell, 159 pounds
Idaho King: Robert (Bob) Henderson, Kuna, 44.2 pounds

Illinois Queen: Barbara Pammer, Oak Forest, 123 pounds
Illinois King: Jeffrey Yersich, Chicago, 348 pounds

Indiana Queen: Betty Michna, Pekin, 108 pounds
Indiana King: Robert Wickware, Plainfield, 88.4 pounds

Iowa Queen: Dixie Lee Johnson, Denison, 116.5 pounds
Iowa King: Bernard Tucker, Bondurant, 41 pounds

Kansas Queen: Carolyn Alley, Winfield, 92 pounds

Kentucky King: Donald Vachon, Louisville, 26.8

Louisiana Queen: Rose Richard, Thibodaux, 70 pounds
Louisiana King: John Waggoner, Olla, 74 pounds

Maine Queen: Rhonda Conley, Alfred, 108 pounds
Maine King: Steve Mannion, Westbrook, 78.8 pounds

Maryland Queen: Doris Martin, Charlotte Hall, 105 pounds
Maryland King: Dana Ed Sprecher, Baltimore, 24 pounds

Massachusetts Queen: Eva Peterson, Falmouth, 66.5 pounds

Michigan Queen: Marilyn Housley, Detroit, 121.25
Michigan King: Archie Moore, Flint, 101.6

Minnesota Queen: Kim Brimer, Fergus Falls, 71 pounds
Minnesota King: John Stoessel, Meadowlands, 34 pounds

Mississippi Queen: Bertha Walker, Hattiesburg, 42 pounds
Mississippi King: Fred Counts Jr., Carriere, 25.75 pounds

Missouri Queen: Tammy Prier, Ironton, 118 pounds
Missouri King: Alvin Hill, Pleasant Hope, 85.4 pounds

Montana Queen: Judie Stewart, Kalispell, 85 pounds

Nebraska Queen: Charlene Meyer, Herman, 105.5 pounds

Nevada Queen: Sharon McDonald, Pahrump, 139.5 pounds
Nevada King: Martin Aune, Pahrump, 144 pounds

New Hampshire Queen: Brenda Demary, Penacook, 66 pounds

New Jersey Queen: Linda Pickens, Whiting, 79.6 pounds

New Mexico Queen: Emily Hoffman, Albuquerque, 46.1 pounds

New York Queen: Mary Anderson, Rochester, 107.6 pounds
New York King: Ed Pitcher, Morristown, 106.25 pounds

North Carolina Queen: Helen O’Reilly, Winnabow, 71.75 pounds
North Carolina King: James Searcy, Hendersonville, 33.6 pounds

North Dakota Queen: Julie Hoffner, Fargo, 45 pounds

Ohio Queen: Cindy Casciato, Ravenna, 90.5 pounds
Ohio King: Josiah Grove, Newark, 38 pounds

Oklahoma Queen: Diane Harrison, Miami, 70 pounds
Oklahoma King: Vernon Krebs, Poteau, 35.4 pounds

Oregon Queen: Barbara Murphy, Bend, 127 pounds

Pennsylvania Queen: Janet Kiehl, Titusville, 102 pounds
Pennsylvania King: Charles Turner, Greencastle, 118.25 pounds

Rhode Island Queen: Madeleine Cavallaro, Cumberland, 132 pounds
Rhode Island King: Aldo Cavallaro, Cumberland, 65 pounds

South Carolina Queen: Darlene Powell, Moncks Corner, 102 pounds
South Carolina King: David Moss, Florence, 32.2 pounds

Tennessee Queen: Anita Patterson, Elizabethton 86.8 pounds
Tennessee King: Gerald Sullivan, Knoxville, 19.5 pounds

Texas Queen: Dori Schwartz, San Antonio, 111 pounds
Texas King: Jim Neddo, San Angelo, 53.75 pounds

Utah Queen: Debbie West, Tooele, 80.60 pounds
Utah King: Dale Mackay, Provo, 68 pounds

Vermont Queen: Sally Reynolds, Jeffersonville, 31 pounds

Virginia Queen: Theresa Wright, Bluefield, 77.5 pounds

Washington Queen: Marion Harmon, Federal Way, 111 pounds
Washington King: Ronald Smith, Centralia, 37 pounds

West Virginia Queen: Micki Rose, Troy, 78.5 pounds

Wisconsin Queen: Kathy Maxwell, Nekoosa, 84.75 pounds
Wisconsin King: Wyman Drake, Sheboygan Falls, 53 pounds

Wyoming Queen: Jeanette Decker, Casper, 20 pounds

Provincial Royalty, and their respective amounts of weight lost, includes:

Alberta Queen: Susan King, Stony Plain, 104.25 pounds

British Columbia Queen: Lynda Halpin, Arras, 93.75 pounds
British Columbia King: Dale Partridge, Nanaimo, 59.2 pounds

Manitoba Queen: Margaret Trupp, Winnipeg, 88 pounds
Manitoba King: Darcy Rollo, Miniota, 33 pounds

New Brunswick Queen: Monique Fournier, Maisonnette, 97 pounds
New Brunswick King: Harry Logue, New Castle Creek, 44.4 pounds

Newfoundland & Labrador King: Ivan Welsh, Grand Falls Windsor, 34 pounds

Northwest Territories Queen: Gwyneth Davis, Yellowknife, 17.75 pounds

Nova Scotia Queen: Kathy Way, Halifax, 94.5 pounds

Ontario Queen: Joyce Webb, Thunder Bay, 154.5 pounds
Ontario King: David Weber, Cambridge, 59.5 pounds

Prince Edward Island Queen: Jean Willcock, St. Louis, 50.4 pounds
Prince Edward Island King: Joseph Gerard Gaudet, Alberton, 63.2 pounds

Quebec Queen: Georgette Piche, Bryson, 79.5 pounds
Quebec King: Ivan Asselin, Pointe-des-Cascades, 31 pounds

Saskatchewan Queen: Esther Walters, Regina, 70 pounds
Saskatchewan King: Robert Spencer, Carnduff, 64.5 pounds

Yukon Territory Queen: Joy Wickett, Whitehorse, 40 pounds

Visitors are welcome to attend their first TOPS® meeting free of charge. Membership is affordable at just $32 per year in the U.S. and $44 per year in Canada, plus nominal chapter fees. To find a local chapter, view or call 800-932-8677.

About TOPS®
TOPS Club Inc. (Take Off Pounds SensiblySM) is the original weight-loss support and wellness education organization. Founded in 1948, TOPS® is the only nonprofit, noncommercial weight-loss organization of its kind. TOPS® promotes successful weight management with a “Real People. Real Weight Loss.®” philosophy that combines support from others at weekly chapter meetings, healthy eating, regular exercise and wellness information. TOPS® has over 100,000 members – male and female, age seven and older – in its network of thousands of weight-loss support chapters throughout the United States and Canada.


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