HR Strange But True!
August 26, 2009

How do you reward a worker who lost the most weight in a wellness competition? How about letting him jump out of a plane? And even stranger, the employee, who lost over 100 pounds to become the winner, is a fitness technician.

D'Artagnan Lopes says the competition, sponsored by his employer, Brookdale Senior Living Communities (, gave him a goal to attain (he wanted to get his weight down so he wouldn't exceed the weight limit for skydiving), the “Experience of a Lifetime,” and helped him stay motivated and committed to wellness. He celebrated his victory with his dream of skydiving, plunging 13,000 feet in a free-fall that lasted 60 seconds. “It was a pure rush,” Lopes said of his award.

The company's wellness and weight-loss competition attracted over 4,000 participants out of 35,000 employees at 400 facilities nationwide. These employees lost over 30,000 pounds total and approximately 3 percent of total body weight.

The company, which provides physical, occupational, and speech therapies in its resident senior communities, also encourages its clients to experience its “Optimum Life” program to celebrate every day of life through new experiences--and these celebrations often includes skydiving. One 84-year-old resident, inspired by George H.W. Bush's 80th birthday skydive, recently plunged out of a plane herself.

Source: Press Release

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