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Tom Heffner - 2012 Honoree

Seventeen years ago Tom joined CHF carrying 240 pounds on his 5’10” frame, and ready to live a healthier life. He expected to lose some weight, but he had no idea how many life-long friends he’d make along the way, and that fitness would save his life.

Seventeen years ago Tom Heffner joined the Center for Health & Fitness (CHF) carrying 240 pounds on his 5’10” frame, and ready to live a healthier life. Tom expected to lose some weight, but he had no idea how many life-long friends he’d make along the way.

Soon after Tom joined CHF, he met a few friends to exercise with and they started meeting after their workout to socialize over coffee. One by one the group started to grow organically. What began as casual acquaintances began to develop into wonderful and very close friendships.

“After retirement, CHF brought us back to people and gave us somewhere to go,” said Tom. “There’s a lot more going on here than just working out, this place helped bring us together and build new friendships.”

As their relationships grew stronger, Tom started coming to CHF and exercising regularly. He began shedding the extra weight by lifting weights and doing cardio three times a week.

Then in 2005, Tom felt a fluttering in his chest and had trouble breathing.

“I ended up having a triple bypass,” said Tom, “but I believe because I was in such good shape it only took me a short time to recover. Then I was right back on my feet. I said to myself I was never going to back off. I think coming to CHF and being in such good shape saved my life.”

Nearly 20 years later, Tom still meets with the same group of members for coffee after their workout. The group has loss friends and gained new ones over the years, but many of the same faces are still friends—Jim Johnstan, George Prichard, Barbara Rosenberg, Mimi French, Bob Lonsdale and Fusa Fujito along with other members as well.

You can still find Tom exercising and volunteering in the fitness center three times a week. Tom prides himself on introducing members to each other to make them feel welcome. His friendly demeanor and warm smile are part of what make this Center a true community.

If you ask Tom why he’s so friendly, he will tell you that, “Everybody likes coming to a place where everybody knows your name.” Cheers Tom! You can also join the CHF community online at http://www.Facebook.com/beachcitiesgym.