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SAIL honors Shepherd University Wellness Center trainer during annual meeting

By Staff | Nov 16, 2018

SAIL members fill their plates with gourmet food during SAIL's annual meeting at Trinity Episcopal Church on Friday afternoon. Photo by Tabitha Johnston.

SHEPHERDSTOWN — For the first time since its inception in 2008, Shepherdstown Area Independent Living has given an award to honor a community member’s service to SAIL, as part of the group’s annual meeting on Friday afternoon in Trinity Episcopal Church’s fellowship hall.

The first annual SAIL Community Service Award was given to Shepherd University Wellness Center Trainer Suzy Munnis, who founded an exercise class for Wellness Center members and non-members alike a couple of years ago.

After noticing many of her clients dealt with neurodegenerative disorders, Munnis realized there were probably many community members with similar issues, who could benefit from her training experience, but couldn’t afford to pay for a gym membership at the Wellness Center. Munnis asked her supervisor at the Wellness Center if she could offer a free Exercise is Medicine class once a week, to help community members with neurodegenerative and neuromuscular diseases improve their coordination, range of motion, balance and overall strength. Munnis’ idea was accepted, and since then she has taught for one hour every Friday morning in Multipurpose 213.

One of the community members who attended the Exercise is Medicine class was late SAIL member Sherry Bazzie Adams. Adams, who passed away on April 25, 2018, had attended Munnis’ class until she was diagnosed with cancer. After Adams was diagnosed, Munnis agreed to teach her three times a week in her home.

“I worked with her for a couple years, and then she got pancreatic cancer. She was so strong, right up until she got sick,” Munnis said about Adams.

Munnis said receiving the award was a “sweet” gesture, showing her work is making a difference in her community.

“To be honored this way meant something to me, because it shows that my work means something to them, that they are benefiting from what I’m doing,” Munnis said, mentioning people of all ages — from young hikers with recently-healed fractures, to seniors — work with balance issues in her class.

“Many people just havent been moving around as much as they should have been,” Munnis said. “I tell them, ‘Motion is lotion.’ You need to move to keep moving. I think it helps them keep healthy.”

For current Exercise is Medicine attendee and SAIL Membership Recruitment Committee Chair Jack Young, attending Munnis’ class has positively impacted the lives of many community members.

“It’s really a community asset. People can’t believe it’s free,” Young said, mentioning he was glad to see Munnis recognized for her service. “Any person or organization who is meeting SAIL’s mission by helping people stay healthy and stay in their homes, would be worthy of recognition. The biggest problem with elderly people, are falls. Just to get people more mobile, out of their homes and into some lively activity is beneficial.”

Exercise is Motion is taught every Friday morning from 10-11 a.m. For more information, call 304-876-5300.