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Wellness Center marks five years in August
by Tim Delaney
May 15, 2014 | 137 views | 0 0 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Refugio County Memorial Hospital Wellness Center sits behind the hospital off Commons Street.
The Refugio County Memorial Hospital Wellness Center sits behind the hospital off Commons Street.
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REFUGIO – For Scooter Kamm, the opening of the Refugio County Wellness Center was a vision he had held for years.

Kamm was head of physical therapy at Refugio County Memorial Hospital for more than 20 years.

Tragedy struck Kamm in a debilitating accident when he was 41 years old, but he was able to recover enough to make the opening of the Wellness Center on Aug. 1, 2009. That was five years ago.

Kamm now lives in Port Lavaca.

Today, the five-year-old $1.5 million Wellness Center is one of the attractive features about Refugio that adds to the city’s quality of life.

The facility has a complete array of exercise machines and a pool. It is open to the public, not just to people in Refugio County. The funds for the center mostly came from the hospital district’s funds, according to Lydia Schlabach, hospital administrative assistant.

Membership is $35 a month for those at least 17 years old and above.

Seniors qualify for a discounted rate of $30 a month, according to Wellness Center manager Jennifer Gray.

Gray, 41, has been the facility’s manager for four years.

“The pool only is $25 and $20 for seniors,” Gray said.

Those who use the facility will not be dissatisfied.

“They love it. Everybody is impressed we have this in Refugio County. It is non-intimidating,” Gray said. She said some gyms can be very intimidating.

The Wellness Center does not have personal trainers, but Gray and another staff member are certified and can give advice on how to use the exercise machines.

“We don’t have time to do one-on-ones. We have the knowledge and can answer questions,” Gray said.

On Thursday afternoon, May 8, the Wellness Center was being well utilized.

Patricia Perez, 62, of Refugio, said she uses the exercise machines regularly.

“I’m a retired school teacher, and I love it. I just wish I would have come here when it opened,” Perez said.

Perez taught kindergarten for 38 years. Her last year of teaching was third and fourth grade social studies.

Dora Castillo, 64, of Refugio, was on the stationary bike next to Perez, and she said she loves coming to the facility.

Others in the facility, Chris Edwards, 30, of Refugio, Pete Moreau, 61, of Woodsboro and Sean Ponce, 21, of Refugio, agreed with Castillo.

“We have a full gym – everything anybody would want. Cable TV is on every piece of equipment with touch screen,” Gray said.

She added that the Wellness Center is part of the Refugio County Memorial Hospital.

“Lots of times when patients finish physical therapy, they’ll come over here to continue on their own,” she said.

She said the hours to the Wellness Center are 5:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Wednesday. On Thursdays, the doors close at 8 p.m. and on Fridays, the center closes at 7 p.m.

Saturday hours are from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Gray said college students are the only ones who can pay $1.45 a day with college IDs required.

All first visits are free for everyone.

“Some pay by the year, others every six months,” Gray said.

Those who have the Silver and Fit program with Aetna insurance get to use the facility completely free, Gray said.

“We issue key cards to all our members,” she said.

Don’t forget the card, or you many not get in.

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