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Fitness Center receives 5-star recognition again

by Airman Jose Climaco
Thunderbolt staff writer

The MacDill Fitness Center was recognized as a five-star program by the Air Services Agency for the second consecutive year Wednesday. The distinction makes it one of 19 Air Force fitness centers with five stars out of 112 Air Force facilities worldwide.

The annual award recognizes Air Force fitness centers which show excellence in the areas of operations, programs, training, facilities and customer service. A fitness center must achieve at least 90 percent of the total point value in all five areas to qualify for five-star recognition.

"It's a big deal to us. This is the best equipped fitness center," said Dewey Short, Fitness Center director, comparing it to other Air Force fitness centers he has seen.

The Fitness Center, which is open 119 hours a week, needs to be well-equipped to accommodate an average 900 to 1,200 people daily. It includes the Health and Wellness Center and the sports fields in addition to the indoor facilities.

The staff is trained to help individuals achieve their fitness goals, and the job is important to them. They don't get shoved into it like in years past, said Mr. Short.

The Fitness Center was able to achieve the five-star status in large part thanks to the support of Brig. Gen. Tanker Snyder, 6th Air Mobility Wing commander, said Mr. Short.

The five-star award encourages commanders to improve their facilities in order for them to be recognized, said Mr. Short.

MacDill's Fitness Center will continue to make improvements in the future. Replacing floor in the showers, improving air conditioning in the aerobics section and repairing a racquetball court are some short-term goals, said Mr. Short.

Long-term improvements may include replacing the running track with a soft surface like the one along Bayshore Boulevard and possibly replacing the football field with artificial turf, added Mr. Short.

"We are in the fitness business. We have to provide the equipment, facility and staff expertise." He added that due to an increased emphasis on fitness in the Air Force, "at some point, we will touch everyone's life at MacDill."

 

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