Good Shepherd Institute Celebrates Seventh Annual Inspire Award

Story and photo by Joycelyne Fadojutimi/ETR

The Good Shepherd Institute for Healthy Living recently recognized the amazing accomplishments of their members at the Seventh Annual Inspire Award event.

The Institute featured success stories of five inspirational members: Job Howie, Greg Frederick, Mary Fruge, Brian Baker, and Shirley Dawson. Each individual spoke of how GSMC Institute for Healthy Living either saved their lives or improved quality of life.

Inspire award as the name connotes was developed to encourage Institute members to reach perceived impossible goals. For some, it took a year’s work and for others it was less. Some of the goals included weight loss, getting high blood pressure and cholesterol under control or being able to swim as in the case of Job Howie.

Eight year-old Job was born with spina bifida consequently, he could not swim like most children of his age. His mother, Melanie Howie was not the type to make excuses or give up on her precious child. She contacted several local swimming facilities that turned them down because they assumed Job cannot pull himself up. However, GS Institute for Healthy Living took them in and started teaching him how to swim. It was not easy, because Job tried to get out get of swimming. The trainer, by the name of Clayton Austin, gently let Job know that he can swim if he tried. But Job had other ideas. He vomited, gaged and sputtered. Austin was up to the challenge because he had a basket to catch the vomit. Soon, Job realized that if he cooperates, he can actually learn to swim. And that was exactly what happened. He first learned to swim on his back since he cannot move his legs.

When Austin left the Institute, Ms. Woodie Terrell took over Job’s swimming lessons. Just like her predecessor, she is patient, stern yet, loving. Currently, Job loves his new skill. He does duck tales, diving, and enjoys swimming.

According to his mother, Job cannot wait to get to the Institute. He wears his swimming goggles all the way from the house to the Institute’s swimming pool.

“Who knew Job could swim this good. He dives into the pool and is also able to wiggle his hip,” said Melanie. “I can brag on him being a good swimmer.”

Another inspiration is Shirley Dawson. She was devastated by the tragic death of her daughter. Tears still stripped down her face as she narrated the story of the heartbreaking event that stole her daughter’s life. In trying to cope with her grief and life in general, she joined the Institute. It became the answer she was looking for. “As soon as I walked through the Institute’s doors, I fell in love with it, she said. “Things are much better now. The exercise has helped me get back my life.” Furthermore, she lavished praise on all her instructors at the Institute.

Gregg Frederick is one of the inspirational members. According to Fredrick, he used a local University gym and hardly saw any results till he came to the Institute. Frederick is honest and has nothing to hide. “I was the morbidly obese guy who did not want to acknowledge that fact” he said. “I was coming to the Institute because my wife wanted to do so.” [J1]One of the things Frederick likes about the Institute is the encouragement he gets from the trainers telling him “You can do more.”

Brian Baker, another inspirational member, weighed in the upper 300s when he had a heart attack March 20, 2015. He had a widow maker-ninety percent of his artery was blocked. And, he was only 48 years old at the time. However, he was informed of the Institute’s cardio rehab and that gave him a reason to exercise there. Baker acknowledged he was eating all the wrong foods that clogged up his arteries. According to him, he used to call his favorite Pizza place and they knew exactly what he wanted because he was a frequently customer. But not anymore. Currently, his weight has dropped and he can run 5 miles on the treadmill. “I won’t be here if it was not for Good Shepherd Institute for Healthy Living.”

Mary Fruge is someone who decided to make good health her dream and passion. She was diagnosed with cancer hence, her journey of health. But the good news is, Fruge has been cancer free since 2014. “We have different reasons for entering into the journey of health,” she said. “All my tests indicates progress.” Fruge who has lost 35 pounds has been married for three and half years. Her current husband and she lost their first spouses to cancer. She is grateful to the Institute and their employees for their encouraging smiles and greetings.

“Day in and day out, the Institute staff is blown away by the accomplishments of our members.  The Inspire Award is a way to recognize those who have taken the biggest steps to reclaim their life and health,” said Jared Graham, fitness manager at the Institute. “We hope the success stories that emerge from the Inspire Award will encourage others along their own fitness journeys.”

The above award winners received a free one-year membership to the Institute.

The Good Shepherd Institute for Healthy Living is a medically integrated wellness center providing fitness and educational offerings encouraging a healthy lifestyle to reduce the risk of illness. The 75,000 square foot facility is fully equipped with a range of fitness equipment and offers a variety of group and individual wellness programs. For more information about the Institute, visit us online at

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