Hays- HaysMed recently recognized Tara Garcia as its second Wellness Champion Award winner. The Wellness Champion Award celebrates and recognizes a HaysMed Associate who promotes healthy lifestyle choices and engages others in wellness activities. Wellness Champions are nominated by their fellow Associates and a winner is chosen by the Healthy Hospital Committee.

Criteria for the award includes commitment to healthy lifestyle choices and motivating others to do the same, displaying an energetic passion for promoting health and wellness and striving to build a culture of wellness at HaysMed.

Garcia has been exposed to good role models her whole life, noting that her parents were very active and her husband was a college athlete. Over the years Tara has remained active; however it wasn’t until she joined and worked at The Center for Health Improvement that she was introduced to many new activities that she continues to enjoy. These activities include running, biking, personal training and attending group fitness classes. She has even participated in half marathons, several 5Ks and taught spinning classes.

Her fellow Associates noted that she is a health/fitness motivator, always sharing healthy food options and activities with her coworkers. When they have office potlucks, she always recommends healthier options. She is also a strong advocate of no smoking and promotes smoking cessation programs. She is a great spokesperson for wellness at HaysMed.

Garcia says she stays motivated because of her mother who has MS, which limited her ability to continue to exercise. “It was difficult to see someone who was so active go to a sedentary life-style in a few short years. Because of this, I truly understand and appreciate the need to remain physically active.”

Garcia also noted that the added benefits of exercise include relieving stress, more energy and better sleep. Tara shares with her children the importance of regular physical activity and continues to lead by example.

“We have many Associates at HaysMed that are incredible role models for leading a healthy lifestyle,” said Stephanie Howie, Fitness Director of CHI. “We hope recognizing their efforts will encourage others to adopt a healthier approach to living.”

Garcia is the Office Manager at Southwind Surgical and has has been an Associate of HaysMed for 20 years.