SDDC employee adds new spin to healthy 'Hart' program
May 12, 2011
SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- Although her last name may invoke the image of a health activist, the new Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command Health and Wellness program coordinator said she doesn't plan to walk around "smacking donuts from people's hands."
Betty Hart was hired as the command's Health and Wellness coordinator about a month ago as part of a Department of Defense-wide initiative geared toward the mental and physical well-being of federal civilian employees.
Although Hart is passionate about her job, she said she doesn't want to be known as the "food police."
"Everyone here is an adult," she said. "I'm not going to judge someone for how they eat. You know what works for you. If you eat it, you need to know what you need to do to work it off."
She said she hopes Hq. SDDC employees don't judge her too harshly, either. She said although her co-workers may see her eat a candy bar or a slice of pizza at her desk, she knows what she has to do to work off those extra calories. Her job, she said, is to educate and help others find out what works for them.
Hart said much of her attitude about health and wellness comes from her mother. "I believe everything starts in the battlefield of the mind. Like my mom used to say, 'When you know better, you do better.' When you educate yourself and learn what works best for you -- whether that's exercise, or diet, or both -- you'll be better; you'll be balanced."
She said staying mentally and physically fit may not be easy, but working on a military installation like Scott AFB does offer benefits for all federal civilian employees, including those without a military background.
According to Hart, everything SDDC employees need to stay healthy and fit is offered on base. For example, she said DOD civilian employees at Scott AFB are permitted to use the base fitness center, the Airmen Family Readiness Center, and the Health and Wellness Center, including many health and wellness programs and seminars.
"I'm trying to debunk that myth that just because we're on a military installation, only military personnel are authorized to use these services," added Hart. "That's not always the case."
In addition to programs available to civilian employees on base and in the local community, Hart hopes she can provide the extra motivation employees need to get healthy and stay healthy.
Using the "if it's not broke, don't fix it" philosophy, Hart plans to follow the same game plan that was used during last year's DOD-wide health and wellness campaign.
Each month there's a different theme and, based on that theme, Hart said she'll offer education and awareness seminars, information tables, and more. "Knowledge is power," she said. "As long as employees know what services are available to them on base and in the local area, they're more apt to use [those services]."
Hart -- who comes to SDDC from the U.S. Air Force -- said she heard the Army was a 'get 'er done' type of community. "They certainly are," she said. "And everyone is very friendly and very welcoming. They're open to ideas and they're excited about what I bring with me."
Hart said she's excited to work with SDDC, too.
"I want [SDDC employees] to look at me as the person who taught them that one little thing that helped make a difference in their life," said Hart. "I believe I can do that by providing education and promoting awareness."
She said that "one little thing" may not happen this month; it may be advice she provides on Tobacco Cessation in November, or Immunization Awareness in August, or Holiday Health in December. No matter what it is or when it happens, she plans to do everything she can to help her fellow SDDC employees find success. "If I can create that awareness and educate people, I've done my job."
And although Hart has already been busy promoting awareness and education within the command, she's also "practicing what she preaches." On May 20, she'll be joining other SDDC military and civilian personnel as a member the SDDC UFC team, competing against other base units during the Scott AFB Unit Fitness Challenge. The UFC includes 10K and 5K runs, push-ups, sit-ups and pull-ups, with the winning team capturing bragging rights.
Although the SDDC team will certainly have the physical prowess to compete, there's no doubt the team will have the "Hart" to win, as well.