Carrots, CrossFit part of agency day to promote health, safety

By Dianne Ryder

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McNamara Headquarters Complex employees were treated to a wealth of wellness information and demonstrations at the 17th Annual Health and Safety Expo in the cafeteria, while some braved the rain to stock up on produce, hot sauce and baked goods at the Defense Logistics Agency Headquarters weekly farmers' market. Both events took place May 11.

The theme for the health and safety expo, “Living a Well-Balanced Life,” was represented in the more than 40 vendors who provided advice on nutrition, fitness, medical and legal services.  

“A lot of people ask for different things, so we try to accommodate that,” said DLA MWR program manager  Beverly Williams, who has received overwhelmingly positive feedback on the event over the years.

“I like that they have a variety of sponsors here … like the Army child and youth sponsors,” said Elsie Valdes, a protocol officer in DLA’s Protocol office. “[There’s information] for the elderly all the way down to kids.”

Valdes said she was seeking out information on organic remedies to manage her pain following chemotherapy treatments.

“Because, really, the oncologist can’t give you any kind of help with that,” she said. “I’ve had enough [medication] come into my body; I don’t want to put any more of that toxic stuff in there.”

Another attendee, Arthur Kitt, director of Mission Assurance in DLA Logistics Operations, said this year’s expo was one of the best he’d seen.

“It’s important … for the health of the workforce, which will benefit DLA in the long run,” he said. “The more you know, the better you are. And the healthier you are, the more productive you are for DLA.”

Williams said an important part of the event is the health screenings provided by the medical providers,  which can identify potential problems.

“A lot of people won’t go immediately to a doctor, just maybe for their annual physical,” she said. “Sometimes they don’t [even] do that.”

The expo also featured giveaways, food tastings and a demonstration of DLA’s newly-acquired “walkstations.”

The farmer’s market featured one of two new vendors this year, Henry’s Hot Sauce. The other new company, Rick’s Roasters, will be one of three rotating vendors, said Bethany Sweatman, a management analyst in the DLA Installation Support Business Office.

“We’ve always had our standbys … Produce is still the main key for promoting healthy living and the bread company has proven to be sustainable over the years,” she said. “But some of these other things that we have, the more specialty-type items aren’t necessarily things that thrive week after week.”

Gypsy Hill is another vendor that will only be at the farmer’s market once a month, she said.

“Hopefully it will bring people down to check out who’s going to be there,” Sweatman said. “And from a marketing perspective, [it will give] new livelihood into the market … to enhance everybody’s business.”

The farmer’s market will continue to run 10 a.m.-2 p.m. every Wednesday throughout the summer.

Sylvia Nance, DLA forms manager in DLA’s Strategic Plans and Policy, said she is a perpetual farmer’s market customer and enjoys the easy access to fresh produce.

“It’s a good value, it’s convenient, and they give you recipes — ideas on how to cook it up,” she said. 

Nance said she’s bought from all the vendors in the past.

“I enjoy the bread, and my dogs like the dog treats from the bread [company],” she said. “The treats are all natural and have very few ingredients, so I like that.”

Sweatman said the farmer’s market is just one in a long list of programs offered to agency employees to help them sustain health.

“It’s a really neat benefit that we’re able to provide,” she said. “Beyond that, it’s just a fun thing — how many people can say they have a farmer’s market at work that they can go to? It’s … our farmer’s market, and I think that just gives a pride of ownership to it that you don’t find in a lot of places.”