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Farmers Bank President Dick Holland with Susie Williamson (the biggest mover), Andrea Curry, Annette Bradshaw (the biggest loser), Debbie Stacey, Terre Rowland and Jessica Slaba. The bank employees recently celebrated the completion of a healthy lifestyles competition that involved both weight loss and exercise. -- STEPHEN H. COWLES | TIDEWATER NEWS
Farmers Bank President Dick Holland with Susie Williamson (the biggest mover), Andrea Curry, Annette Bradshaw (the biggest loser), Debbie Stacey, Terre Rowland and Jessica Slaba. The bank employees recently celebrated the completion of a healthy lifestyles competition that involved both weight loss and exercise. -- STEPHEN H. COWLES | TIDEWATER NEWS

Archived Story

Local community bank makes investment in employee health

Published 11:33am Friday, June 13, 2014

Damien Smith

WINDSOR—What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the term “Employee Day”? Now take that imagery and think about Employee Day for a bank. I don’t know about you, but the first thing that comes to mind isn’t having fun, laughter and saving people’s lives. In February Jessica Slaba, Kathy Bryant, and the rest of the Farmers Bank family set out (as they always do) to do just that, and the outcome wasn’t just ‘all of the above’ it also morphed into something that literally changed the entire culture of this organization.

The theme for our Employee Day was the Olympics and there was an emphasis on exercise, healthy living and, of course, bank related topics. Bon Secours was brought in and did voluntary health screenings on each employee and gave recommendations on how each person could improve their individual lifestyle.

During those health screenings it was discovered that Bill Pollard from Suffolk was dangerously close to having a heart attack. He went to the doctor and immediately began receiving lifesaving treatment, all the result of attending and participating in those screenings.

Melissa and Pastor Blake James of Mt. Carmel Christian Church in Carrsville with Dick Holland, president of Farmers Bank. The church received $556.50, which represents a dollar for each pound lost during the bank employees’ recent weight-loss competition. -- SUBMITTED
Melissa and Pastor Blake James of Mt. Carmel Christian Church in Carrsville with Dick Holland, president of Farmers Bank. The church received $556.50, which represents a dollar for each pound lost during the bank employees’ recent weight-loss competition. — SUBMITTED

Jessica also came up with two incredible ideas that would take place over a 12-week period. One was starting a Biggest Loser campaign. Employees got together in teams of three and competed against each other to lose a percentage of body weight. The second was the Biggest Mover campaign designed for people who may not be interested in losing, but who wanted to compete. Jessica calculated the number of steps it would be to walk from branch to branch (over 220,000 steps). We have a lot of camaraderie at Farmers Bank, but no one was prepared for the response.

Fifty-six employees participated in one event or both: over 50 percent of the company. The team called the Blister Sisters was dedicated to both events. Annette Bradshaw, Debbie Stacy and Terre Rowland literally work side by side in our call center helping customers with all sorts of things so a lot of their day is spent sitting down. But these ladies not only rose to the challenge, but also crushed every expectation. Most days during lunch it was normal to see one of the three walking the circle behind the Hillpoint office and they lost 76 pounds as a team. As a company we lost 566 pounds total, and Annette Bradshaw was our overall Biggest Loser, losing a total of 44 pounds.

Twenty-seven people participated in the Biggest Mover and 21 of those participants made more than the 220,000 steps required to walk between all the branches. The competition was stiff with the top three winners all walking over 1 million steps over 12 weeks. Bill Bailey and Andrea Curry took third and second places walking 1.1 and 1.2 million steps respectively, and Susie Williamson took the top spot walking 1,383,271 steps.

The numbers alone are phenomenal and we are so happy to congratulate our participants. But the real impact of these competitions is that it has created a culture that emphasizes the importance of exercise, good eating habits and healthy living.

Our employees are talking openly about being healthier, keeping the weight off and even extending the competition 12 more weeks. Being healthy is a lifestyle change and it’s often hard to do, but when you have almost 100 people cheering you on and making the change with you, that makes it a whole lot easier.

Farmers Bank was also very happy to partner with the YMCA giving all employees discounted memberships to encourage the continued fitness and healthy living, and presented a check for $566.50, one dollar for each pound lost, to the Foodbank of Mount Carmel Christian Church. This donation will supply their pantry with one month’s worth of food. Our loss is our community’s gain.

DAMIEN SMITH is director of marketing for Farmers Bank. He can be contacted at www.farmersbankva.com

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