About CHF
Our Members and Success Stories

There are inspiring stories of member succeeding and overcoming obstacles throughout the Center for Health and Fitness (CHF). CHF set out to share some of the most impactful stories by featuring these five members as honorees at its Spirit of Wellness Celebration.

2019 Spirit of Wellness Honorees

NANCY CLARKE

Seventy-one-year-old Nancy Clarke works out five days a week at the Center for Health & Fitness, a routine that helps her find courage in daily life and care for her husband with dementia.
Through her personal and small group training sessions, Nancy has developed a tough mental strength that she applies during her workouts and at home.

SEE NANCY'S FULL STORY AND VIDEO

JOSEPH DAVID PRELETZ

Center for Health & Fitness member Dave Preletz battles Parkinsons disease, arthritis and severe spinal conditions, and yet for the past three years, has had no excuses for skipping his workouts with personal trainer Brian Fuentes.
As a matter of fact, it wasn’t long ago that he was majorly hunched over due to difficulties with his spine.

WATCH JOSEPH’S VIDEO

TOM BAKALY

Beach Cities Health District CEO Tom Bakaly has become the district’s archetype for health. After joining the leadership team, Tom was determined to better his own wellness.
And it’s paying off.

WATCH TOM'S VIDEO

MARY WADMAN

Center for Health & Fitness volunteer Mary Wadman tackles all duties at the front desk without hesitation.
She has the lobby gleaming every Thursday during her weekly shift and rarely requires guidance from staff.

SEE MARY'S FULL STORY AND VIDEO

2018 Spirit of Wellness Honorees

COREY NEWMAN

Six years ago, Corey, a 55-year-old, 100-pound spitfire with boundless energy and a contagious smile, made a commitment to get herself in better shape – not to drop weight or dress sizes, but to provide better care to her 15-year-old son, Joe.

SEE COREY'S FULL STORY

VIRGINIA CAMPBELL

Center for Health & Fitness volunteer Virginia Campbell has become one of the gym’s most reliable, cheerful and enthusiastic volunteers. From the second Virginia walks into her Sunday morning shift, she is hard at work.

VIRGINIA’S FULL STORY COMING SOON

RICK RASNICK

The 2019 Spirit of Wellness was held in the memory of Rick Rasnick, a 2018 Honoree. As a young man, he starred as a center for San Jose State’s football team in the early 80s. He later landed coaching positions at San Jose State, the University of Utah, and a head coaching job at Eastern Michigan University in 1995. Then Rick started showing pronounced memory issues and onset Alzheimer’s – a rare and aggressive form of dementia with no cure.

SEE RICK'S FULL STORY AND VIDEO

RICHARD LAWSON

Seventy-year-old Richard Lawson is a fiery twenty-something at heart…. 21 to be exact. But his heart wasn’t always this youthful. Lawson’s heart disease began at age 48, and in his late 60’s, things took a turn for the worse when he received news that he was experiencing life-threatening heart failure.

SEE RICHARD'S FULL STORY AND VIDEO

2017 Spirit of Wellness Honorees

CAROL SCHIEWE

Despite two forms of cancer and a rare degenerative brain disorder, Carol applies a positive, can-do attitude to daily life, including her grueling, five days a week fitness routine at CHF..

SEE CAROL'S FULL STORY AND VIDEO

CARMEN SELLERS

At 82, Carmen is an archetype for healthy, active living. Not only is she an active volunteer with the City of Redondo Beach and BCHD, she also regularly cycles and exercises five to six days per week at CHF.

SEE CARMENS'S FULL STORY AND VIDEO

MICHAEL THOMAS

Though doctor’s recommended surgery, Michael was determined to lose weight from his nearly 400-pound frame the right way through diet and exercise. Since joining CHF, he has lost more than 100 pounds.

SEE MICHAEL'S FULL STORY AND VIDEO

HOWARD DARVEY

Volunteer Howard Darvey goes above and beyond all of his duties. His dedication to health and his willingness to help others has earned him a reputation as a true health hero.

SEE HOWARDS'S FULL STORY AND VIDEO

JULIAN KATZ

Julian has worked tirelessly as a community advocate for safer streets. He’s also become a key advocate for the Blue Zones Project, successfully advocating for people-friendly, living streets.

SEE JULIAN'S FULL STORY AND VIDEO

2016 Spirit of Wellness Honorees

DASH MICHAEL

“For years I said I wasn’t an alcoholic, but I had one foot firmly in the grave,” says CHF member Dash Michaels, who just a few months ago celebrated five years of sobriety. His long, arduous battle with alcoholism is a stark reminder of the perils of addiction as well as an inspiring comeback story that shows it’s never too late to make a healthy change.

SEE DASH'S FULL STORY AND VIDEO

JOHN NIEHAUS

It didn’t happen suddenly, but John Niehaus is not half the man he used to be. And he couldn’t be happier about his transformation. Using nothing but good-old-fashioned exercise, proper nutrition and support group therapy, the gritty 68-year-old CHF member has lost 200 pounds the healthy way.

SEE JOHN'S FULL STORY AND VIDEO

LAURA RUIZ

Surrounded by friends and family, CHF member Laura Ruiz celebrated her 45th birthday on March 6, 2014. She remembers being thankful that day for her health, happiness and career – and recalls being blissfully unaware of the dramatic twist her life would take the next morning.

SEE LAURA'S FULL STORY AND VIDEO
 

PAUL SENIOR

Paul, 69, joined CHF at his wife’s urging seven years ago. At the time, his goal was to lose a few pounds and “firm up.” So he took a conservative approach – using the treadmill and light weights. But as his physical condition evolved, so did his objectives. And he enlisted the help of long-time CHF trainer Derek Malit to accomplish them.

SEE PAUL'S FULL STORY AND VIDEO

STUART JOSEPH

Stuart Joseph exemplifies the core values that CHF and Beach Cities Health District (BCHD) stand for: compassion, integrity, excellence and accountability. He is a pleasure to work with and a great representation of what CHF is all about.

SEE STUART'S FULL STORY AND VIDEO