Wellness Champions for 2016



Wellness Champion 2016 Stories

Agency:Bristol VDOT Office

Nominated By:Connie Hope

Amy Carter was nominated as a CommonHealth Wellness Champion by Connie Hope. Connie says that Amy “has been a huge inspiration to many people in the Bristol District of VDOT after having lost over 125 pounds in the last couple of years.” She did this the old fashioned way of healthy eating and exercise. Connie shares that Amy’s “positive attitude and eagerness to help employees has always been her strengths. I am so proud of Amy's accomplishments and in awe of her dedication to improving her health and that of all VDOT employees!”

As a CommonHealth Coordinator for almost 20 years, Amy has seen how the sharing of health information can make a difference. In her words, “I think CommonHealth is a wonderful program and the main thing I do is try to share information with all our employees. I enjoy helping people and try to make a difference by showing others that I care about them. I work with Michelle Earl our Public Affairs Director to share information through our electronic bulletin board system. I organize regular blood drives at the district office complex and work to keep our district committee committed to sharing information to assure that all the employees have an opportunity to hear the CommonHealth message. This year our committee worked to put together a program geared toward our maintenance employees based on a suggestion from John Watson, our Lebanon Residency Administrator, which will begin in the fall of 2016. Our goal is to supplement our statewide programs with information and other challenges that will address health issues that are common in our workforce. We all have different struggles and just sharing information can sometimes provide others with something they might need.”

Agency:Patrick Henry Community College

Nominated By:Lori McCarty and Ophelia Griggs

Sue Ann Ehmann was nominated by both Lori McCarty and Ophelia Griggs as a CommonHealth Wellness Champion. The both say that Sue Ann has been “inspiring our employees (and students) to be active since her first day at the College.” Whether it is the daily email messages focusing on the health and fitness of the mind, body and soul or the facilitation of Fit & Fun during lunch for those who want to get active during the work day, Sue Ann brings her passion for wellness to her job every day.

Sue Ann says that “having Sue Perry come to campus and present her programs is always a big plus. I have already had someone express an interest in the “Get A Grip” campaign.” The campaign offerings have also allowed Sue Ann to put healthy practices into place for staff. “The spring campaign of “Stress – Dial It Down” afforded ample opportunities to share ideas on how to deal with stress and create a positive outlook along the way. Last fall, as part of our “Move It – Virginia” campaign, I began a “Fit & Fun at Lunch” program with different options offered on different days. So far we have Line Dancing on Mondays, Yoga on Tuesdays, and Walkers or Line Dance on Wednesdays. I have thoroughly enjoyed my role as CommonHealth Coordinator and I am looking forward to sharing more ideas with Patrick Henry Community College. Being chosen as a CommonHealth Wellness Champion is an honor that I truly cherish.”

Agency:James Madison University

Nominated By:Cathy Thomas

Tara Roe was nominated to be a CommonHealth Wellness Champion by Cathy Thomas. As a member of JMU’s HR benefits team, Tara has a full plate of benefits related tasks, yet she carves out a portion of her workweek towards achieving her goal of making James Madison University CommonHealth Worksite Certified. Cathy shares that the efforts Tara has made have taken CommonHealth from “what was once a little-known benefit” to a valuable program that is now widely recognized and supported at JMU. Tara’s fun and humorous attitude paired with her highly organized and professional skills have led to big success in employee wellness.

According to Tara, the success was driven by offering “a variety contests and campaigns promoting different wellness initiatives that encouraged all employees to have fun while taking charge of their health.” Fun being of the utmost importance in all of her initiatives. As she looks to the future, she sees nothing but positivity in the direction of the program and her own life. “We have such a fun year of wellness planned – I can’t wait to see the awesomeness unfold! The excitement is contagious and I have thoroughly enjoyed watching people get pumped about being healthy. I have taken this energy home with me to help meet my own health and fitness goals; my 4-year old daughter and I work out together almost every evening and, in addition, I am training for my first 5K in September!”

Agency:Wilson Workforce Rehabilitation Center

Nominated By:Elizabeth Brogan

Gayatri “Veera” Veerabhadrappa was nominated to be a CommonHealth Wellness Champion by Elizabeth Brogan for her impacts on her fellow employees’ physical and mental health. Veera is a registered nurse on night shift who not only encourages activity through the long hours of the 3rd shift at the Center, but she also regularly prepares meals for her coworkers in their breakroom! Elizabeth says that Veera “leads by example by walking circuits around the unit every night, even getting some of her fellow coworkers to walk with her. Following her nightly walk she then begins her preparations for a healthy meal, a meal that she prepares for all of us.” These meals always include healthy, fresh ingredients.

Veera says the she knows firsthand how difficult it can be to not only develop but also maintain a healthy lifestyle. “It can often times be a struggle but when I have inspiration at home through my family and a support system at work, it becomes simpler doing so. There’s a serious dichotomy between the perception of living a healthy lifestyle and actually living one. It doesn’t have to be painstakingly difficult given proper planning and commitment. Over the past several months: I have lost weight, I have more energy and I sleep better. I now take more walks with our dog, Jeevan. It’s exciting to know that what I’m doing is impacting others in a positive way and I’m honored to receive this award.”

Other 2016 Nominations

2015 Wellness Champions

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