Member Spotlight

Powell Wellness Center (PWC) is proud to highlight our members’ wellness stories! Check out the Member Spotlight to see who is standing out from the crowd. Will you be next?!

To tell your story or nominate someone else, please get in touch with PWC Wellness Coordinator Patrice Barklund (540-445-5395 or email

Share your story and inspire others!

Member Spotlight: Meet Miss Shirley

It’s a pleasure to shine the spotlight on PWC member Miss Shirley, a “regular” in the aquatic facility with a biweekly routine. Miss Shirley travels to Powell from her home in Madison County where she has lived for 60 years. She became a member of Powell in 2007, the center’s inaugural year.

Over the years Miss Shirley has been a member, she has adjusted her fitness activities to serve her changing needs. Early in her membership she participated in the aquatic fitness classes, and she still remembers one of Sharon Steele’s morning classes fondly. After experiencing two knee replacements, she shifted from group aquatic fitness classes to enjoying the pool on her own.

Miss Shirley’s aquatic routine offers therapeutic, cardiovascular and strengthening benefits. During her hour-long visits, she enjoys standing in the walking oval where the water for the current emerges. It’s a great spot to relax with the swirl of the warm water, which is soothing for joint or muscle discomfort. After about 5 minutes of savoring the warm current, she’ll next take a lap around the walking oval, then do another current soak. All told, her routine takes about an hour and makes great use of the pool’s therapeutic and fitness aspects.

Our thanks to Miss Shirley for sharing her wellness story.


Member Spotlight: Meet Maxine

Are you familiar with the Senior Games? Every state offers this opportunity for individuals 50 and older to compete in a variety of sports that can range from archery to track and field. At their state’s games, athletes may qualify for national competition. State competitions alternate on a yearly rotation with the National Senior Games competition. Virginia has a long history of participation: 2018 marks the 40th anniversary of the Virginia Senior Games.

Powell Wellness Center member Maxine is a former Senior Games athlete, as is her husband Bernard. In fact, over the course of their 10 years of participation in the state games in Virginia and West Virginia, Maxine and Bernard between them won 75 medals in gold, silver and bronze!

Maxine says she has always been very active, and the Senior Games seemed like a fun thing to do. She played basketball in high school, so that sport was a natural choice for her when she became involved in the Games. She won the gold medal for basketball free throws when she was 66 years old. That achievement occurred one year after she had completed five years of treatment for breast cancer. She also participated in team basketball. At one point, Maxine’s team was all set to compete in the National Senior Games. Unfortunately, one of her teammates was diagnosed with an illness and they were unable to compete.

Maxine also participated in 50 and 200 meter races and played horseshoes. Bernard’s sports were golf, basketball, and volleyball.

Senior Games-related travels took her to Utah, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, and also within Virginia when the Senior Games were hosted in Newport News.

Although she no longer competes in the games, Maxine remains active. At PWC, she typically walks 3-4 miles on the track three times a week. If for some reason she can’t finish her mileage at PWC, she walks on her driveway. She also works out with the strength building machines at PWC.

Maxine recalls that she was interviewed by her great nephew as part of a project he was working on for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Her message to other women was upbeat: “Do not get discouraged, you can overcome the challenge.”

Her recollections of Senior Games activities are similarly upbeat: she is proud of her effort and grateful that she had the good health and strength to participate. And the 75 medals earned by her and her husband? Many were used as prizes at fun events that they have hosted over the years! We’re glad she was able to display one of her medals for the Member Spotlight photo!

An invitation – to all members to share their fitness or wellness stories! If you would like to share your story for a Member Spotlight, please get in touch with PWC Fitness Manager Patrice Barklund (540-445-5395 or or Karen Boushie, communications specialist at the Culpeper Wellness Foundation (540-445-5702 or

Member Spotlight: Meet Pamela

PWC member Pamela’s story is one of continuing commitment to her personal wellness journey after she confronted and dealt with some health challenges.

Pamela sustained a shoulder injury at work, then found herself sitting around eating while at home. She put on weight.  Pamela had shoulder surgery to address the injury. After recovering from the surgery, her next step was meeting with her primary care doctor.

Pamela felt that her weight was the root cause of her health issues and she knew she had to get the weight off. She told her doctor she was tired of hurting all the time, mainly due to back and knee pain. Her doctor referred her to PWC’s FitScripts program in November 2017. She experienced success in FitScripts — over the course of 8-week program she lost 36 pounds!

When the FitScripts program ended, Pamela joined PWC as a member to continue focusing on her health. She recalls, “It hurt to work out when I started, but I knew in my heart and mind that my weight was causing me to hurt.” Now, Pamela’s a PWC regular who comes to the gym every day — she points out, “even if it is only for 10-15 minutes, I need to get my workout!” As part of her wellness efforts, she also addressed her eating habits and observes, “I am eating better, I cut the sugary foods and drinks.”

By continuing her commitment to personal wellness, Pamela has gotten into better shape and lost a total of 60 pounds. Last year she was able to walk 2000-3000 steps per day. When she shared her Member Spotlight story in June 2018, she had increased to 15,000 steps per day — a new level of fitness that is the reward for her commitment. In May 2018 she participated in a 5K walk; an effort that understandably she is proud of. Pamela says she feels better and is pain free as well as happier!

Thank you, Pamela, for sharing your story!


Member Spotlight: Meet Miss Pat

Recently we had the pleasure of sitting down with Miss Pat as she is affectionately known by her friends and fellow parishioners. Miss Pat is 59 years old and originally from Tennessee. She is a woman of great faith who loves to sing and minister to others.

In 1988, Miss Pat moved to northern Virginia in 1988 as a military wife and later relocated to Culpeper where she worked for 23 years at a local credit union until it closed. Since then she has been out-of-work and carefully living off retirement income.

In June of 2017 Miss Pat needed medical care and contacted the Free Clinic. It wasn’t an easy call for her to make. As someone who has always taken care of herself, she is much more comfortable in the role of giving to others rather than receiving help.  When she arrived at the Free Clinic for her first visit, Miss Pat was on all kinds of medication for chronic issues such as asthma, allergies, diabetes, high cholesterol and degenerative osteoarthritis. And, she wasn’t feeling well at all.

Miss Pat met with Cathy, our physician’s assistant, to discuss her health concerns. “She pulled up a stool and listened to me…REALLY listened.  She’s amazing”, Miss Pat said. She went on to say, “Even when I had insurance I never got the care that I get now. They treat me with respect and are so kind.  It’s almost like they’re not real because they’re so good.”

The Free Clinic staff connected Miss Pat with medical specialists and helped her to enroll in an exercise program at Powell Wellness Center.  There she received a fitness scholarship made possible by generous donors. Now, less than a year later, Miss Pat has lost 20 lbs., lowered her cholesterol, reduced her blood sugar, and is on only a few medications!

As we concluded our visit Miss Pat said, “I have nothing to give and they keep giving to me joyfully. I feel like the love I’ve given to others over the years is coming back to me. The Free Clinic is a Godsend.”

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