Inspire Award Received by East Texan

LONGVIEW (KYTX) – The amazing accomplishments of seven members were celebrated at the Good Shepherd Institute for Healthy Living's fifth annual "Inspire Award" luncheon on Monday, March 10.

The Inspire Award 2014 winner is Tom Leahy, a stroke survivor who recently completed his third one-mile walk at the St. Mary's Stampede.

The award was developed to recognize Institute members who have dramatically improved their health through their participation as members. For many, it was the culmination of up to a year's hard work – and collectively finalists lost hundreds of pounds of weight, and many reducing or eliminating risk factors such as obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

"The Institute is unique, because unlike other fitness centers we are supported by the services of Good Shepherd Medical Center," said Jared Graham, fitness manager at the Institute. "Our staff members are trained to work with patients referred by physicians and facing a variety of special health considerations, like diabetes, hypertension or limited mobility. We also offer services and classes for people interested in working out or maintaining their current health, so we are really able to meet the needs of the whole community." 

Each nominee submitted their story of successful weight loss or improved fitness and health for consideration, and Institute staff voted on a winner. All of the nominees were honored at the luncheon and received a floral arrangement and Inspire t-shirt in recognition of their hard work and dedication. The winner, Tom Leahy, received a free one-year membership to the Institute.

  • Tom Leahy, winner – Tom suffered a massive stroke in 2012 and one year later he completed his first one-mile walk post-stroke in 59 minutes. At the Heart Walk in October 2013, Tom finished the mile walk in 45 minutes and his new goal is to complete it in less than 30 minutes.
  • Bill Beadles – Bill has lost over 40 pounds in the last six months and is working on 10 more.
  • Michael Hart – A few years ago he was over 500 pounds. Michael started exercising in our resistance pool and went on to have bariatric (weight loss) surgery. He is now 235 pounds and no longer a diabetic.
  • Shannon Fleet – Shannon broke her back and underwent total back reconstruction (8 ½ pounds of titanium in her spine) in 2012, which left her with a numb foot and leg. She began exercising in our resistance pool and is now a yoga enthusiast.
  • Michelle Drovdahl – Three years ago Michelle was 267 pounds. She started walking on the treadmill at the Institute and dropped 10 pounds in the first six months. Michelle has walked 1,797 miles since May of 2012 and to-date has lost more than 100 pounds.
  • Tracie Wallace – She began attending Zumba class and is now a group fitness instructor at the Institute teaching Zumba, Aqua Zumba and Body Combat. Since joining the Institute Tracie has run a 5k, lost 70 pounds and dropped six pant sizes.
  • Becky Hill – Becky passed away recently but continues to serve as an inspiration to her friends. A few years ago, Becky joined the Institute and went on to lose 65 pounds and discover her love of running. She participated in several 5ks and half marathons and inspired many on their own weight loss journey.

The Good Shepherd Institute for Healthy Living is a medically integrated wellness center providing fitness and educational offerings encouraging a healthy lifestyle to reduce the risk of illness. The 75,000 square foot facility is fully equipped with a range of fitness equipment and offers a variety of group and individual wellness programs. A scholarship program is available to assist individuals with financial needs who have medical conditions that may be significantly improved through Institute membership. For more information about the Institute, visit us online at


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