Lackland Air Force Base, Texas –
Lackland Air Force Base always prides itself for making health and fitness a primary concern.
That concern and attention to detail paid off as Lackland's sports and recreation program recently won the 2007 Air Education and Training Command Fitness and Sports Program of the Year.
The award takes into account many different aspects of the program. It measures innovation, management, customer focus and satisfaction and operational results.
Because Lackland caters to more than 45,000 personnel, the fitness and sports program faces unique challenges. Lackland's program consists of six fitness centers, nine varsity sports programs, 16 intramural programs, 33 group exercise classes and 43 outdoor athletic venues.
Of the 13 bases under AETC, Lackland houses 25 percent of all the fitness centers.
Lackland also handles 20 percent of the patron load using these fitness facilities.
Also, Lackland's sports and fitness facilities were used more than 1.9 million times during fiscal year 2006.
Director of Sports and Fitness Steve Reichert has recently changed the focus of the program, which was primarily sports-driven, to a program which now also stresses fitness.
"Our sports program has not shrunk in size, but we have increased the size of our fitness programs and that is what I am most proud of," Reichert said.
One of the main ways that has been accomplished was by opening the Lackland Training Annex Fitness Center, a $7.1 million facility, in September 2006. Rich Brown, who is the manager of the Chaparral Fitness Center, oversaw the construction of the new center.
"I didn't actually get a hammer and nails and build any of these fitness centers, so I can't take any credit for that," said Reichert. "The award is actually based on how well you do programming and what you provide to the patrons. This award was for how well we are doing our job, not what facilities we have."
Last year, Lackland's sports and fitness program eliminated all of its military positions and went to a memorandum of agreement.
Because the program was in a transition phase, Reichert feels that winning the award was a very special accomplishment. The majority of Reichert's 36-member staff began working for him in March or April of 2007.
"I'm like a pig in slop, because I'm around a bunch of people who are motivated to do their jobs," Reichert said. "They really want these jobs. They would line up and fight for these jobs."
Because of the excitement generated by the new staff and the award, Reichert has set a new goal for next year.
"When someone walks into one of our fitness centers, I want them to view our people as experts in our field," Reichert said. "When you walk into a hospital, you believe that the person you greet is an expert, you respect their knowledge, and that's what I want for us."