Group Going for Health, Fitness Grant
Posted on Thursday, January 27th, 2011
Going for Grant: Area health administrator Mendy Spohn hears about health and fitness programs and goals for Love County during a public "brainstorming" session at Mercy Health/Love County. The hospital hosted the event with a luncheon in its new therapy building conference room.
About 50 local individuals and organizations already engaged or interested in helping people get fit, eat nutritiously, and reduce stress recently held a brainstorming session.
They are pursuing a multiyear grant to bring healthy food and physical activity opportunities to Love County.
Fitness classes, enhanced walking trails, farmers’ market, industry wellness programs, home, community and school gardens, outdoor day camps for children, and nutrition education all were named as existing initiatives or desirable goals.
Area health department administrator Mendy Spohn chaired the meeting. She said some of the ideas, including a farmer’s market and a “trail blazers’” initiative to highlight changes to Marietta’s walking trail in Shellenberger Park, can be pursued immediately.
Personal fitness trainer Stacy Redwine reportedly is lining up sites to begin offering aerobics and toning classes to children, adults, and seniors.
“With or without a grant, this group will continue pursuing ways to make our community healthier,” Spohn said.
Marietta Mayor Michelle Porter and County Commissioner Bub Peery were elected officials at the gathering. Mercy Health/Love County Hospital hosted the group with a luncheon in its new therapy building conference room.
Falconhead Resort general manager Warren Mason spent several minutes outlining the open access that county residents now have to swimming, tennis, camping, parks, and restaurant at Falconhead.
“We have free swimming for everyone and free golf lessons for kids under 18,” Mason said.
A Falconhead resident, Thom Maier, described a free fishing derby for Love County children that volunteers held last fall. This summer, he said, he is planning a day camp featuring play and instruction in all the sports available at Falconhead.
Another popular talk was given by Kelly Epperson, Oklahoma City spokesperson for Homeland Grocery. She explained the new “food star” ratings established by nutritionists. Shoppers can check shelf labels on most products. Those that carry 1, 2 or 3 stars have more nutritional value than non-starred items.
Even children, she said, are catching on to the ratings and insisting on foods that are healthy for them.
Toni O’Brien, benefits administrator for Red River Valley REA, described her company’s new wellness program. Their insurer, she said, lowers annual premiums for helping employees become healthier.
Organic grower John Marshall proposed that local growers could supply a farmers’ market and sell fresh fruits and vegetables to schools.
Recent changes to federal and state law favor local over shipped produce in meals and snacks served by child nutrition programs.
In the days following the brain storming session, a total of 56 persons had joined the Health and Fitness Committee of the Love County Community Coalition.
Local specialists include a personal trainer, fitness class instructor, yoga instructor, naturopath-acupuncturist, organic grower, master gardener, strategic planner, therapeutic massage therapist, events organizer, and sponsors of youth outdoor and shooting sports clubs.
Participating organizations include Health Department, Big 5 Head Start, Retired Seniors Volunteer Program (RSVP), City of Marietta, Love County Commissioners, Cowboy Camp at Cross & Crown Ranch, Falconhead Resort, Greenville School, Homeland Grocery, Innovation One (CNI Manufacturing), Love County Chamber of Commerce, Love County Industrial Foundation, Marietta Dentist Emilie Stahler, Marietta Schools, Marietta Lions Club and Baseball Program, McDonald’s Restaurant, Mental Health Services of Southern Oklahoma, Mercy Health/Love County, Chickasaw Nation, Oktex Baking, OSU Extension, Ardmore-Area Prevention Resources Center (teen tobacco, alcohol and drugs), Red River Valley REA, Sooner Start, Summer Playground and Fishing Derby, Thackerville Schools, and Turner Schools.
A follow-up meeting to go over next steps on the grant will take place at 3 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 9 at the Love County Health Department, Spohn said.
The grant is being offered by the Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust.
Successful recipients will show, at the end of the grant, that people are eating more fruits and vegetables and engaging in physical activity to stave off diabetes and heart disease.
They are finding healthy food and exercise choices at work, at school, and in the community.
The Love County Community Coalition will hold its regular monthly luncheon meeting at noon Monday, Feb. 7, at the Love County Library.