Joining Forces program supports military family fitness

Sanford Wellness Centers offer free family admission during deployment

Rachael Hanes is pumped to be in the zone of action at the Sanford Wellness Center (49th & Oxbow) in Sioux Falls.

“Sanford is just amazing. It’s fun to be here,” Hanes said before an afternoon fitness class.

The mother of two, with a husband serving in the South Dakota Army National Guard, is lacing up her go-fasters and lifting up her wellness center community in gratitude.

“You can tell that they do appreciate their veterans and make sure that we are taken care of,” Hanes said.

‘Passion for military’

When Hanes’ husband Brett deployed with his unit, Battery B, 1-147th Field Artillery Battalion, she was approached by the center’s staff with support.

“I love it,” Denise McGraw, operations supervisor, said about supporting veterans and their families. “I have a passion for military.”

McGraw’s sons currently serve in the U.S. Marine Corps.

Sanford Health shares her passion for service members and is offering the Joining Forces program to military families.

“Free membership for family members whose spouses have been deployed,” McGraw said.

Free family admission, during the deployment, to all the amenities embedded in each of the Sanford Wellness Centers in Sioux Falls including the Sanford Fieldhouse.

Hanes says the gesture means a lot.

“The family is being taken care of back home. That’s one thing this wellness program does,” Paul Weckman, head of military and veteran affairs, said. “It brings down the stress, the anxiety level of those family members.”

Family sacrificing too during deployment

While Mom works out or gets a massage, her son plays in the KidZone child care area.

“It’s kind of a win-win. Not only is it taking care of the family members, but the service member deployed can now focus back on the mission,” Weckman said. “It’s great that Sanford Health and the leadership understands that. It’s the right thing to do to take care of not only veterans overseas but their family back here at home.”

McGraw adds, “It’s extremely important to be supportive of veterans. We wouldn’t be where we are without them.”

Veterans and their loved ones.

“The military person is making the sacrifice as well as the family,” McGraw said.

Honoring that sacrifice is an important mission for Sanford Health.

“Oh my goodness,” Hanes said when asked how she feels about the Joining Forces program. “This is just one of the many programs that Sanford recognizes and works on (for veterans).”

Keeping the family unit happy and healthy.

“So that when he comes home, we can just kind of pick up and continue on where we left off,” Hanes said.

At this time, the Joining Forces program for military families is also offered at the Sanford Health Thief River Falls Wellness Center in Minnesota.

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Posted In Healthy Living, Sioux Falls, Veterans

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