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HAWC gets Hero's salute for promoting health, fitness, family

by by Nick Stubbs
Thunderbolt staff writer

The theme of the annual Tricare Conference held recently in Washington, D.C. was "fit for life, healthy force, healthy families." The U.S. Department of Defense decided MacDill's Health and Wellness Center embodied that theme in 2004 and awarded the group a coveted Hero's of TRICARE award and a few words of gratitude from Dr. William Winkenwerder, Jr., assistant secretary of health affairs.

"This is a big deal for us," said Joan Craft, director of the HAWC. "We had no idea we were going to win this; it's very prestigious."

Mrs. Craft went on to say she is glad the work of her staff is being recognized and that they are seeing the benefits of their efforts.

"We've received several awards in the past and this is really the best award we've ever received," she said. "My staff really does deserve this; they work really hard and they don't just put in regular hours, they put in the time it takes."

MacDill's HAWC was recognized for its work in promoting better health by encouraging responsible alcohol use, tobacco cessation and weight management. Among other accomplishments were partnering with the base to hold a "Do Not Drink and Drive" event for more than 300 TRICARE beneficiaries. To better promote tobacco cessation, the HAWC expanded its class schedule and incorporated the use of electronic behavior modification devices designed to help smokers quit without medication.

Eat Smart - Play Hard was a HAWC program that provided weight management information, screenings and expert advice for more than 700 attendees of the HAWC's Fit Stop event, a community health fair.

The HAWC also used the power of the internet, conducting an online awareness campaign focusing on the link between alcohol and sexual assault. Online weight management classes were held and much information was provided through the HAWC site and links to other information. The HAWC also worked with Air Mobility Command to obtain grants for obesity assessment, the Presidents Fitness Challenge and Fit Stop, a diabetes health fair, cholesterol education and deployment fitness, which allowed TRICARE beneficiary access to more than 450 health and wellness intervention classes.





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