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SHAW 2013: Health and Wellness Through Others' Eyes
June 6, 2013

[image-62]Employees were able to view health and wellness through "new eyes" during NASA Langley's Safety and Health Awareness Week (SHAW) presentations that kicked-off this year's theme: A Culture of Caring.


"We always talk about safety and one thing my office is trying to shift the paradigm with is that it's about our own wellness also, our own health, it's not just about safety," said Grant Watson, director of NASA Langley's Safety Mission Assurance Office (SMAO). "During SHAW, safety has always been involved, but we wanted to make sure to make sure that health had a bigger vision this year."

Throughout the week, various certification and refresher courses are available to employees. On Thursday, several local safety and health vendors will take part in a safety expo.

"It's very important to focus on health and wellness, not only for our safety program, but for our performance as a center," Watson said. "Our own wellness is the foundation that makes everything happen."

 

Bill Winfree

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While at a recreation center, Bill Winfree of Langley's Research Directorate, went into cardiac arrest. He was defibrillated and sent in a helicopter to the Medical College of Virginia (MCV) where an emergency stint was placed.

For five days, he was in a medically induced coma. During that time, tears fell from his eyes and he smiled. Doctors told his family that such emotion was a good sign.

"When I woke up, I never appreciated how bad it was," he said.

The severity of the whole ordeal really hadn't sunk in until a nurse who read his transcript reacted in amazement. His doctor told him he was surprised he was walking again. When he started rehabilitation, one of the nurses gave him a long, curious smile and Winfree's wife explained that she helped work on him. Another nurse hugged him and asked if he was "the Bill Winfree."

"In spite of it all, I was able to walk my daughter down the aisle," Winfree said. That was just on month after his heart attack.

With a new lease on life, his appreciation has grown. He stated that, at the center, he finds comfort for himself and others, in knowing that employees take automated external defibrillator (AED) training and that defibrillators are always nearby.

 

Mike Verano

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Mike Verano, a counselor at Langley's Occupational Health Clinic, talked about the "power of wow," which he considers the "eleventh sense." It's a sense of awe that he has about working at NASA Langley.

A cancer survivor, Verano was celebrating his third year of his last day of chemotherapy.

"Those who go through major illnesses, we walk out with this [sense]," Verano said. "I talk to a lot of folks, and I know that not everyone comes to work with that same sense. I know it doesn't happen for everyone. My gift is to help you reignite that."

Verano suggested that, while we tend to point to circumstances or to others for causing us to lose that sense, we sometimes miss "what's happening within ourselves."

He used to story of "The Fisher King" to illustrate how our negativity affects and pressures others out of their joy, and how we may lose our sense of wonder and fail to see the joy in ourselves.

"I don't know that you could possibly drive into this place and not be astounded," Verano said. "But I know what happens to the blind spots."

Verano says frustrations can cause us to overlook our inner-joy. But he offered some good news.

"The sun shines because your eyes make it shine. We experience wind because the skin has sensation of all these wonderful things that go on," he said. "You are the primary cause of all of that. You are it. You never lost it. You can't because you are it."

Verano asked his listeners not to wait for things to happen to ignite our sense of awe and wonder.

"New eyes is all it takes," Verano said.

Bill Winfree
Bill Winfree
Image Credit: 
NASA/David C. Bowman
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Mike Verano
Mike Verano
Image Credit: 
NASA/David C. Bowman
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[image-63]
Director of NASA Langley's Safety and Mission Assurance Office helped to kick-off Safety and Health Awareness Week (SHAW) in the Reid Conference Center.
Image Credit: 
NASA/Dave Bowman
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Page Last Updated: July 28th, 2013
Page Editor: NASA Administrator