In late spring of 2005,Gary and his son Matt traveled to Canada for a fishing trip. Matt had just graduated from George Mason University and this trip was a reward that both of them would enjoy. During the trip Gary began having severe back pain and by the end of the trip his son was pushing him through the airport in a wheelchair. Upon returning home, Gary had an MRI and found that he had a herniated disc in his back. When he began rehab with Gary Kardos at Sentara RMH Rehab, he could barely walk 1 lap of the Wellness Center indoor track. After completing rehab and working his way back to an active lifestyle, he joined the Wellness Center and has been an avid member ever since.
Gary is no stranger to exercise. He began running short distance races in 1982 and then in 1995 he trained for, and ran the Marine Corp Marathon. Since his back injury he has concentrated his focus on low impact exercises, but still runs on most of his workout days at the Wellness Center. He recently completed the Valley 4th charity 5K in downtown Harrisonburg. On the WC fitness floor he enjoys using the chest press, the fly machine and the incline trainer. He recently invested in personal training with Kim Durden, who really emphasized the importance of technique during every stage of your workout, on and off of machines. With his 45th H.S. reunion just months away, Gary entered the Right Weigh Challenge for added incentive. In order to gain every point possible he changed his daily schedule and now begins his day at 3:30am! He arrives to work at 6:00 am, leaves at 5:00 pm, comes straight to the WC, works out, goes home, eats dinner, relaxes and goes to bed. He has lost 11 lbs. since the Right Weigh Challenge began on June 28th. While the cash prize is enticing, he really loves the competition! He especially enjoys the friendly atmosphere at the Wellness Center and the opportunity to meet people and make new friends.
Being in great shape allows Gary to give blood every 8 weeks to the VA Blood Services. He also enjoys ringing the Salvation Army bell at Kroger and the ABC store during the holidays. Gary has only worked 2 jobs over the past 46 years. He worked at Dunham-Bush for 28 years and then in December of 1996 he began working as an electrical design engineer at Innovative Refrigeration Systems in Waynesboro.
His best achievements to date are raising two sons Jeremy and Matt, but he gives his wife Kay most of the credit! Also, he is a Grandfather to 4 grandchildren; Christian 12, Oscar 4, Aliana 2 and Isiac 1 month. Gary is inspired by the Wellness Center and enjoys the interaction with members and social media on the current competition. Congratulations Gary and thank you for being our August member of the month!