Meet George Stafford, a 25-year member of the YMCA Shades Valley branch. Now a fitness fanatic and avid guitar player and instructor, George previously served our country in Vietnam, was an open-road truck driver for many years and has raised a family of children and grandchildren.
George had battled several health issues over the years since Vietnam, including agent-orange exposure, an arterial bypass, and a long recovery. He was experiencing poor circulation and would get leg cramps just walking to the car. “I’d try to park farther away to get more exercise but I wasn’t getting any better.” Only being able to walk short distances, George knew he needed help getting back into shape.
He came back to the Y for help recovering from recent knee surgery and started swimming on weekends. He slowly increased his lap swimming to get back in shape. “I also met a lot of new friends – you know we socialize a lot here at Shades,” he says. “That’s how I started working out on the stationary bike. I’d start out struggling after just 5 minutes of pedaling. Then I’d start talking to friends and suddenly 15 minutes had passed!”
George enjoys working-out with friends like Roger Baldwin (pictured), also retired military, and other new friends he meets all the time. “I like to start with my friends sharing coffee and conversation at the tables, sometimes play cards until our Group X classes start.”
George and his friends attend the Y Silver class taught by Sarah Pyron. “Sarah encouraged me to try the class and I struggled at first.” he says, “The first thing she taught me was how to get up off of the floor safely – and I’m glad because now I’m able to do everything and we have a great time.”
George currently attends classes and works out 4 times a week at Shades Valley. He has lost over 40 pounds in the last year, made a lot of new friends and feels better all around. Look for him on the weight machines, a stationary bike or in a group exercise class.
When he’s not working out, George enjoys playing guitar for Greater Calvary Missionary Baptist Church, teaching guitar lessons and listening to his favorite musicians Stevie Ray Vaughan, Eric Clapton and “of course" Prince is his #1!
MISSION: To put Judeo-Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all.
VISION: We will lead our community to become the healthiest in America.
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