Be Well Wabash County signs charter
By Eric Stearley
On Jan. 8, more than 30 members of the community joined together at the Wabash County YMCA to show their support for Be Well Wabash County, a new initiative focused on wellness. The initiative aims to bring organizations, businesses, and individuals together in a collaborative effort to promote life balance and health.
“Right now, were in the bottom third of the health rankings. Wouldn’t it be fun to think about being in the top third? Wouldn’t it be fun to be in the top 10 counties for health and wellbeing,” said founding member Bryce Lindsay. “And what does that do to our economy? Does it attract other companies and people who bring new jobs in? Then that helps our schools. That helps everybody.”
“It really is a holistic approach to wellbeing, which is exciting, and I think it’s different from what other communities are doing,” said YMCA Community Wellness Coordinator Chris Sloan.
The event served as a kick-off for the initiative, as well as a chance for its organizers to explain the vision. Following a brief program, educators, businesspeople and pastors, among others, had the opportunity to sign the initiative’s charter to publicly show their support. Lindsay hopes that this will prompt others in the community to get involved and work toward a healthier Wabash County.
“When you drive up awareness, more people want to be involved, and when you can intersect where their passions and their skills come together, and you get the right people in the right organizations doing the right thing, I think that’s pretty powerful,” said Lindsay. 
Be Well is a countywide initiative, and North Manchester was well represented at the event. Vice President for Financial Affairs Jack Gochenaur explained why Machester University jumped on the opportunity to be involved. 
“First of all, we have quite a number of employees that live in Wabash County, and we want to be an institution that’s noted for community relationships,” said Gochenaur. “It really supports the mission of the university in the context of trying to create an environment for our employees. It’s a very positive environment, and a supporting environment, and health is obviously a key point in that.”
He also noted that the initiative would have an impact on the university’s students, even those who attend its pharmacy school in Fort Wayne. Through Be Well Wabash County, the university hopes to connect pharmacy students with the community’s senior citizens.
“We were looking forward to bringing our students down here…to give them experience in consulting with senior citizens who are on pharmaceutical medication. Taking a look at the pharmacy prescriptions what they have and [making sure] that they’re aware of how they’re using it and how they might be in conflict with each other,” said Gochenaur. “This would be a marvelous experience for our students, and I think extremely helpful for the people they’re talking to, so that’s a win-win for us.”
Be Well is also working with local restaurants to identify healthy menu items and promote these to customers using the Be Well Wabash County moniker. Main View Inn in North Manchester is already taking part.
“We’re redoing the menus in the next four weeks, so were excited, and I think it’s a good time of year to start it, because everyone’s New Year’s resolution is always to lose weight, so were excited to be a part of this,” said Karen Fawcett.
They hope to have at least 10 menu items endorsed by Be Well Wabash County when their new menu is announced next month. 
“I’ve got to tell you, it’s enjoyable to be a part of this community,” said Lindsay.  “When you think of community, purpose, mind, body and that approach, it’s exciting, because that’s what’s going to change lives.” 
Posted on 2015 Jan 13