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PUBLISHED: 5:02 PM on Wednesday, February 6, 2008
Sitka Employee Wellness Coalition honors Alaska Air
The Sitka Employee Wellness Coalition has honored Alaska Airlines with its Well Workplace of the Month award for February. The monthly award recognizes the efforts of Sitka organizations that promote employee wellness within their worksites.

Alaska Airlines started its local employee wellness program after two days of training in September 2007. After the training, team leaders Sheri Buggins and Corrine Hein got co-workers interested in the new program by hosting a healthy soup lunch-and-learn featuring Hames Corp. employee wellness team leader Linda Bixby.

Since then, the Alaska Airlines employees in Sitka set goals for promoting healthy eating and encouraging active lifestyles. To accomplish this, they hold monthly lunch-and-learn meetings, educate staff on different "powerfoods," and they have started a walking challenge. The plan is to count steps and walk to all the cities that Alaska Airlines serves by jet.

"There are several of us that are healthy-minded at Alaska Airlines," Buggins said when asked why employees started this campaign.

"We've often thought it would be great fun to learn and share together as a group. But actually, what motivated me most recently is that our dear friend and co-worker, Sue Frank, passed away suddenly from cancer this last April. She was always on the move, walking and watching what she ate. She inspired many.


  Elisabeth Crane of Sitka Community Hospital, left, presents the Sitka Employee Wellness Coalition's Well Workplace of the Month Award for February to Alaska Airlines employee wellness team members Sheri Buggins, center, and Corinne Hein. The Sitka Employee Wellness Coalition is a community-wide organization promoting workplace wellness in Sitka, and it is sponsored by the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC), Sitka Community Hospital and the SEARHC Steps to a Healthier SE Alaska program.
"I look at this movement to wellness as a great way we can honor her memory."

The Sitka Employee Wellness Coalition is a community-wide organization promoting workplace wellness and the group is open to all Sitka workplaces interested in designing and implementing effective employee wellness plans. The coalition was created as a follow-up to the Working Well in Alaska employee wellness training seminar held in September in Sitka, and is co-sponsored by the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC), Sitka Community Hospital and the SEARHC Steps to a Healthier SE Alaska program. The coalition's next meeting is 3-4:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 14, at Harrigan Centennial Hall.

For more information on the Sitka Employee Wellness Coalition, contact Doug Osborne of SEARHC Health Promotion at 966-8734 or Elisabeth Crane of Sitka Community Hospital at747-1721.


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