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BWWMH Wellness Center turning 25

Betsy Adams could not imagine what she was in for when she accepted a transfer 25 years ago.

At the time, she had spent eight years working in physical therapy at Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital and was preparing to run the new Wellness Center, of which she was the only employee.

The center was a new endeavor for the hospital. The facility was a third of the size of its current location and had been relegated to a windowless room in the basement that lacked restrooms.

The highest membership the facility saw at any one time was 60.

“We were down there until 1999,” Adams recalled “It took off when we moved up here.”

The center has blossomed since moving into its current location, seeing its total membership grow to approximately 800 in the years since.

“The Wellness Center has come a long way since then,” Adams said. “All these classes Jackie (Chauvin) is teaching and the personal training has really helped out.”

Adams said she expected some growth after the move, but did not anticipate anything near the caliber of which the center has experienced over the past decade.

“We did not know that it was going to take off like it did,” she said. “We expected maybe to double the membership, but we have just kept growing and growing.”

Now Adams, Chauvin and the rest of the Wellness Center staff are preparing to celebrate a quarter century of healthy living.

“We’re going to have an open house 25-year celebration on Dec. 30, 8 a.m. until 8 p.m.,” Adams said of an event planned to commemorate the center’s success and history.

“We’d like to invite everybody to stop by. We’ll have refreshments and we’re going to give away great prizes throughout the day.”

Items given away at the open house are set to include Wellness Center T-shirts, a one-month membership and Yoga class sessions among other things.

“We will also draw for two six-month membership giveaways, which were donated by Mr. Paul Gresham,” Adams said of a drawing set to be held at 4 p.m. the day of the event.

In addition to the scheduled celebration, the center will offer a small health screening of sorts.

“We’ll be offering free blood pressure and BMI checks all day,” Adams said.

The open house will also likely see the presence of Austin Caldwell and Betty McCormick, the only two individuals who have maintained an active membership over the entirety of the center’s 25 years.