To be recognized on stage in front of hundreds of people was the last thought Vance Hinds had at a recent Bert Kreischer comedy show.
The edgy comedian was Hinds’ inspiration to embark on a weight-loss journey back in November 2017, shortly after Kreischer finished a 5K.
Since then, Hinds, an Ellis County assistant district attorney, has accomplished his initial goal — to weigh under 400 pounds by the night of the comedy show on April 7.
It is a weightloss totaling over 100 pounds and counting.
“Bert’s a little different. He’s crazy because you never know what he’s going to do,” Hinds explained. “I just didn’t think he would interrupt his show by calling me up there. I was hoping, but I didn’t think he would.”
Hinds soaked the moment in alongside his three kids, wife, long-time friend and family in the crowd. The public praise was most heartwarming to Hinds since his children experienced it first-hand.
“It was an exciting, humbling night. It was awesome,” Hinds expressed.
Every show, Bert conducts a raffle and usually has an audience member choose the winning ticket. Hinds sat in his chair, shocked when he heard his name. He was convinced Bert would talk to him after the show like everyone else.
Kreischer introduced Hinds to the crowd and shared the inspirational story as well as the social media and community trends behind the weight-loss journey.
As Hinds drew the name for the raffle, Kreischer continued with his skit and proceeded to brag on Hinds a little more before exiting the stage.
“I tried my best to honestly share with him that he, in fact, is the inspiration,” Kreischer relayed. “I may have been that initial inspiration for him, but whatever that stupid half marathon that he saw that inspired him, he’s taken that little flame and turned it into a bonfire."
"I tried to convey to him that I was impressed with him," Kreischer added.
After the show, Hinds and his family waited in line to get photos with Kreischer. On the way to the merchandise room, audience members instead wanted to talk to Hinds.
“People were talking to me in the crowd. They were following me, congratulating me,” Hinds elaborated. “Since what he did that night I’ve gotten 300 more followers between Instagram and Twitter.”
Kreischer admitted he’s wanted to meet Hinds in the flesh. Even though they’ve chatted via social media, the in-person presence was valuable to the two. As Hinds followed a podcast Kreischer works on, “The Joe Rogan Experience,” Kreischer replicated the same interest in Hinds. Even Kreischer’s wife is a fan.
“I’ve been following his journey, and my wife has too. My wife was like, ‘Oh my gosh, he’s down 20 pounds. He’s down 30 pounds. Honey, he’s down 50 pounds.’ There is no going back. I think he has this dialed in. And, I watch these walking groups that he sets up and the swimming, and then Dallas Diamond Page got involved, and I was like, ‘Wow, this guy is really doing it.’ So to see him down like 102 pounds, it’s such an inspiration.”
Kreischer said he is genuinely amazed at Hinds’ ability to involve the community and most of his Waxahachie High School graduating class of 1983. He pointed out the group Hinds has assembled is accountable, which was most inspirational to him.
Kreischer mentioned one problem with Americans is how they isolate or polarize themselves. But, Hinds is doing the complete opposite.
“He’s sharing his story online; he’s not polarizing. Instead, he’s bringing people in. And, he’s literally pushing people to the point where these walks are 20 people deep. He’s changing the community,” said Kreischer in amazement.
One thing Kreischer forgot to mention to Hinds at the comedy show was how he thinks his walking buddies or the City of Waxahachie should organize a 5K or any physical event in Hinds’ name to continue to change lives in the community.
Some of the folks who have participated in the weekly walks at Getzendaner park are dear friends of Hinds, while others complete strangers. All the same, each person has lost weight, leaving an impact on their lives and Hinds'.
Kelley Guarnero has a 13-year-long friendship with Hinds and expressed how deserving he is of the new lifestyle.
“He’s the best friend to all of his friends and is the most deserving man that I’ve ever known," Guarnero explained. "And, he helps everyone and does for everyone. I’m glad he’s unselfishly doing something for himself because while he’s doing it for himself, he’s doing it for others.”
Life-long friend, David Snell, called out Hinds the day he posted his first video disclosing the lifestyle change. Snell has walked with Hinds basically every week at Getzendaner Park. He shared the walking has allowed him to shed more than 30 pounds and is no longer diabetic.
Leann Keenom graduated in 1982 from Waxahachie High School. She always knew of Hinds but never reached out until she saw his open invitation to the Getzendaner walks.
She admitted to having lost 25 pounds since joining the group.
Another goal for Hinds was to finish the seven-and-a-half mile hike-and-bike trail. He met the goal in early April with more than 20 supporters by his side. He now completes the entire path every Sunday.
Keenom elaborated on the character of Hinds, explaining how she missed the final walk. She walked the hike-and-bike trail the day after Hinds in his honor. She posted on Facebook about the honorary walk, inviting folks to join her. Hinds was there the next day with Keenom, supporting her.
As he looked back on the experience at the comedy show and the lives he has come into contact with since starting his journey, Hinds thanked Kreischer.
"I wouldn’t have found DDP because he found me through Bert’s thread," Hinds explained. "Bert’s got me all of these followers, supporters. I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t his drive for running that half marathon.”
A WORD FROM DDP
Dallas Diamond Page had a few words to share to Hinds in an email to the Daily Light. The retired professional wrestler invited Hinds to Atlanta for personal training back in January. Page said it was Hinds’ willingness for a change that stood out the most to him.
“I could see the accountability from his end that he wanted to put in the work. I was on my Twitter, and I was reaching out to comedian Bert Kreischer's Twitter account and underneath it was this guy, Vance Hinds.”
Page elaborated saying Hinds is “unstoppable!”
Hinds first set his three goals in November and has since accomplished all three.
He weighed less than 400 pounds by the April 7 comedy show, kept himself accountable by posting on social media and completed the seven-and-a-half mile hike-and-bike trail.
He continues to exercise, sometimes twice a day and abides by his strict, all organic, gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-free, and caffeine-free diet.
Hinds continues to shed the weight, anywhere from three to eight pounds a week. Followers can check in on Hinds every Monday during his weigh-ins on Facebook, Instagram at @Vance_Hinds or Twitter at @LawDog1515.
Ashley Ford | @aford_news | 469-517-1450