By BRETT MARSHALL
Brad Nading/Telegram Sandy Russell, center right, leads a cardio class in January 2012 at the Garden City Family YMCA.
Brad Nading/Telegram Sergio Sanchez uses a weighted bar to do curls in January 2012 while working out at the Garden City Family YMCA.
Brad Nading/Telegram Zach Barrie, 11, runs over hurdles during one of the one-minute workout stations in February at Garden City Recreation Commission during a youth fit camp.
From the local to the state to the national stage, obesity has had its share of attention in recent months and years.
But for three individuals in Finney County, they are doing their share — and more — in keeping the local citizens healthy and fit.
Meet Dan Knight, Stacy Crase and Meghan McFee. From Knight, a 50-plus middle age man, to Crase, a 30-something single mother of one, to McFee, a recent graduate of Kansas State University, the three keep running along at their respective jobs at the Holcomb Recreation Commission (Knight), Garden City Family YMCA (Crase) and Garden City Recreation Commission (McFee).
And their paths to their jobs couldn't be more different.
For Knight, he had spent his entire career in the grocery/meat industry. He had been a volunteer with the HRC for several years before being hired as its fitness director eight years ago.
"Apparently they liked what I had done well enough, they asked me to run the place," Knight said with a smile. "I went to the Cooper Institute in Dallas and got my certification through them."
The HRC has 24/7 access to its facilities for its approximately 250 to 300 members.
"I just am here when I need to be," Knight said. "We adjust our hours as we need to."
Crase, a native Garden Citian, attended college here and eventually got her personal training certification through the National Academy of Health and Fitness. She began her career at the YMCA six years ago as the front desk receptionist, and she now is the Health and Fitness Director.
"We have so many programs, such a wide range of them for people of all ages and interest," Crase said. "The programs are for the members (currently about 5,000) and for the community. We've got cardio and strength fitness centers to meet the needs of just about anyone."
Crase said the joy in her job comes from watching people accomplish things they couldn't imagine.
"Seeing people's faces and their reactions when somebody has accomplished a goal, that's what really gives me a lot of joy in the job," Crase said. "Multi-tasking and being busy all the time keeps things interesting. There's never a dull moment."
McFee, the newest of the three health enthusiasts, is a native of Holcomb, and when the opportunity arose for her to return to western Kansas from a position at Fort Riley Recreation Services in Junction City, she jumped.
"Being back here is like being home," McFee said. "The GCRC is a great organization, and it's just a win/win situation for me."
McFee has plenty of members to attend to as they come and go from as early as 5:30 a.m. to as late as 9 p.m. through much of the week. Hours are shorter on the weekend, but even then there are programs to plan and events to attend and help coordinate.
"There's so many programs we have to offer, it's hard to focus on just one," McFee said. "I think people can find just about anything they want if they want to do something to get healthy and stay fit."
All three agreed the winter months, especially after the new year begins, is the busiest time at their respective indoor facilities.
"People have their resolutions and want to try and lose weight and get healthy," Knight said. "We try to take those, get them into a regular routine and keep them moving along and not have it be a short-term deal."
Crase said she sees the "regulars" at the YMCA — from the basketball and volleyball players to the noon time swimmers.
"Things tend to slow down inside when people can get out and run or bike outside," Crase said. "Everyone is different, so we just have to always be available to help them no matter what their needs are."
McFee said today's focus for her has been the Baby Boomers, who soon will be retiring, and the youth fitness programs.
"We've got to make sure our aging population stays fit and the young ones get fit now and then can maintain it," McFee said.
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