By Bob Reinert/USAG-Natick Public AffairsMarch 11, 2011
Even sitting forward in the massage chair with his face cradled by the headrest, Command Sgt. Maj. Earl Allen still led the way for others at U.S. Army Garrison-Natick.
"Gertrude is doing a wonderful job," said Allen, USAG-Natick command sergeant major. "It is awesome, outstanding."
As Allen spoke, Gertrude Lola, a licensed massaged therapist, worked to remove knots from the muscles in his shoulders and upper back.
"Some of them are really tight," Lola said.
"Everything is going away," Allen said. "She's relieving me of tension."
Allen and hundreds of other military and civilian employees at the Natick Soldier Systems Center learned how to take better care of themselves at the 2011 Health and Wellness Fair held March 10 at Lord Community Center.
Presented by the NSSC Community Health Promotion Council, the fair featured 15 exhibitors from on and off post who focused on everything from acupuncture to yoga. Brig. Gen. Harold J. Greene, senior commander of NSSC, pointed out why it was vital to maintain a healthy workforce at Natick.
"You do critical work for the Army and the nation as a whole," said Greene, "so it is important that you keep yourself in prime condition to continue to provide quality support to our Soldiers and the war efforts."
Like Allen, CW3 Michael Doe found something quite useful at the fair - the simple chiropractic help he had been seeking since he arrived at Natick.
"I've had a very difficult time here ... finding walk-in chiropractics," Doe said. "I've done chiropractic almost all of my (military) career."
Doe explained that he didn't want to start from the beginning with the same expensive evaluation already done on him in the past.
"I don't need that," Doe said. "I need maintenance."
A local chiropractor at the fair agreed to help Doe.
"I'm very happy to find that," Doe said. "The massage, the yoga, all that stuff is really interesting to me, anyway, so I wanted to see what was going on with that, too."
Doe said he hoped family members had taken advantage of the fair, as well.
"I tried to get my wife out here, but she couldn't do it because she had other commitments," said Doe, "but it would have definitely benefited her, too."
Emanuel Ingram, chairman of the council, was pleased with the results of all the hard work that went into the fair.
"The turnout was tremendous," Ingram said. "We want to thank all of the vendors that took part in making the fair a great success."
Amelia Dixon, one of the fair organizers, said planning for the event had begun last fall.
"We just tried to get a little bit of everything," said Dixon of the vendor mix.
Just over midway through the four-hour fair, Dixon estimated that as many as 300 Natick employees had already passed through.
"So I think it's turned out well," Dixon said. "We're definitely going to do it again. Healthy workers are more productive workers, so it's like a win for everybody."