Charter members of the Wellness Complex at Crossville who attended the recent 10th anniversary luncheon included (alphabetically) Jean Brown, Vaughn Brown, Burton Ingram, Gailard Larkowski, Helen Larkowski, Susie Morgan, Ralph Morgan, Audrey Smith, Robert Smith, Dr. Perkins Thornton, Thelma Tutterow, Jack Watkins, Terri Watkins and J. T. Webb. Not pictured is Earl White.

The Cumberland Medical Center Wellness Complex at Crossville recently celebrated the 10th anniversary of its opening on March 17, 1997 by honoring its original members at a luncheon in the facility's Conference Room.

Members of the CMC board of directors attended as well 15 of the original members, their guests, and staff of the complex. Each of the charter members was given a free month of membership as a gift.

Several individuals spoke about their experiences including Jack Watkins of Fairfield Glade.

"When I retired, I had a bad case of hypertension. While I was working, I never took time to take care of myself. When the Wellness Complex opened, we signed up. When the Fairfield Glade Complex opened, I started to work out about two hours a day six days a week. Now my blood pressure readings are below the norm, and I don't take medication. At 82, I have never felt better. I have a passion for this place. I encourage everybody to try it, just try it."

Helen Larkowski of Fairfield Glade remembered, "I had lung cancer and was in the hospital for a long time. I started pulmonary rehab and within two weeks I felt better. When they told me at the hospital that the Wellness Complex was opening in Crossville, I was there the first day. We were delighted to join.

"Now that the Fairfield Glade Complex is open, I go there. I have had a stroke and blood pressure problems and Wendy (Reed, cardiac nurse now exercise manager) was a big help. I've told everyone to go. They tell me, 'You like to exercise.' And I say no, I don't. I just like to feel strong."

Hospital board chairman Jay Brown of Tansi, who attended the luncheon, recently said, "I want to compliment Ed Anderson, former president and CEO of the hospital, for having the vision to pursue the wellness concept. We are a financially conservative board, so he organized a trip to a facility in South Carolina and we returned convinced it could be done. We could do this. And, financially, it has paid its way."

Brown also credited Vicki Baucum, director of Industrial Medicine, for her role in wellness development. Both Brown and his wife, Diane, are members.

Hospital Board member Bob Couch of Crossville commented, "The Wellness Complex is the finest thing CMC can offer to the community."

He and his wife, Barbara, who also attended the luncheon, are members. After her hospital cardiac rehab was complete following a heart attack, Mrs. Couch returned to the Crossville Complex and began an exercise regime.

"The staff watched her so closely. They were a big help. I really praise them," Couch commented.

The couple regularly attend the stretch class taught by Sandy Harrison. "Despite arthritis, we are very flexible."

On the 10th anniversary topic, Ed Anderson of Crossville, now retired as president and CEO of CMC, said, "The basic concept came to mind when I saw hospital employees walking outside the building during lunch. It seemed a good idea to have a place for them to walk and exercise. So, we asked Dr. Barry Wagner and Vicki Baucum to work on it. It is a good service for the hospital to offer our community and there are many people who deserve credit for making it happen." Anderson is still on the hospital board.

Tres Baucum, manager of the Crossville and Fairfield Glade Complexes, added, "During the last ten years numerous fitness clubs and gyms opened and closed, but we're still here and plan to vigorously continue our mission of helping this community be well and stay well."

Vicki Baucum, director of Industrial Medicine; Tres Baucum, manager of the two Wellness Complexes; and Linda Brown, coordinator of the Diabetes program and a registered dietitian, were also charter members in attendance.

Janet Simko, diabetes program secretary and a former caterer, prepared food for the luncheon.

With a total of more than 4,000 members, the two complexes now serve the greater Crossville area and Fairfield Glade.

The Medical Fitness Association, a national organization based in Richmond, Virginia, in November of 2006 gave the Wellness Complexes its Distinguished Achievement Award. It was judged outstanding.

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