Alyssa Morin

BCHD of Redondo honors older adults committed to fitness

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2012 Spirit of Wellness honorees Jim and Barbara Johnston were on hand to celebrate the achievements of the 2014 class.

2012 Spirit of Wellness honorees Jim and Barbara Johnston were on hand to celebrate the achievements of the 2014 class.

Last Tuesday evening, the Beach Cities Health District held their 2014 Spirit of Wellness celebration. Five older adults were honored by the BCHD for their commitment to exercise despite suffering from seemingly insurmountable health challenges, and RBUSD Superintendent Steven Keller was recognized for his commitment to keeping young people healthy and active.

Steven Keller was the first award recipient of the night. BCHD CEO Susan Burden and BCHD board member Vanessa Poster presented him with a commemorative photo depicting the Superintendent jumping rope with a group of elementary students.

“Dr. Keller knows a secret,” said Burden. “Healthy kids not only feel better and live better lives, they do well in school. “

“Never underestimate the power of synergy,” Keller said in his acceptance speech. “RBUSD and Beach Cities Health District are doing innovative, amazing things for kids in this community. We understand the importance of supporting the whole child.”

Along with the Superintendent, Peggy Jenssen, Earl Eastcott, Robert Horn, Jim Wade and Tammy Rogers were honored.

Tammy Rogers with Center for Health & Fitness staff member and friend Ryan Elmendorf, who presented Tammy with her Spirit of Wellness award.

Tammy Rogers with Center for Health & Fitness staff member and friend Ryan Elmendorf, who presented Tammy with her Spirit of Wellness award.

Honoree Tammy Rogers, who has cerebral palsy, moved the entire audience. Rogers was honored for her commitment to regaining coordination and balance through frequent workouts at Beach Cities Health District’s Center for Health & Fitness.

“A few years ago, I began falling down much more often than I was okay with,” said Rogers. “My muscles were too weak, and I knew I had to do something to get stronger.”

Unfortunately, Rogers had a difficult time finding a fitness center that would allow her to join.

“Some gyms wouldn’t even work with me because they saw my condition as a liability,” she said. “But CHF was more than willing to not only work with me, but to accommodate me in any way they could.”

Rogers joined the Center for Health & Fitness early last year and began working with long-time personal trainer Lauren Alnes. Alnes created a training regimen tailored to Tammy’s unique set of needs.

“Since I began working out, I haven’t fallen once,” says Tammy. “It’s been a blessing. Lauren has been so great in helping me stick to my program.”

Rogers did fall on her way to the stage. But, true to form, she quickly righted herself, wiped away a few tears and took to the stage strongly.

“The Health District saw me as a human being and made me feel accepted,” she said. “I feel like family here. And to the Health District staff in attendance, I want you to know the work you do is vitally important and people are counting on you.”

Rogers received a standing ovation from the 140 people in attendance.

After inspiring speeches by all six honorees, the evening ended with the honoring of individuals who exercised at the Center for Health & Fitness more than 250 and 300 times in 2013. These individuals were inducted into the CHF 250 and 300 clubs.

The Beach Cities Health District is committed to building healthier lives to everyone in the community, regardless of age. The recipients of Tuesday night’s awards proved that getting older doesn’t have to impede fitness.

“I’m 63-years-old and can honestly say I’m in better shape now that I was in high school,” said honoree Jim Wade. “It certainly wasn’t easy, but nothing worth doing ever is.”