|July 4, 2013
World War II veteran recognized for his use of fitness center
By B.L. Azure
Man enough to wear pink, 91-year-old Frank Huber displays the new pink workout undergarment he received for his birthday celebration at the St. Ignatius Fitness Center. (B.L. Azure photo)
ST. IGNATIUS — This past Friday the Tribal Health and Human Services staff at the St. Ignatius Fitness Center laid out the red carpet for one of the center’s most dedicated users who just happens to be the eldest regular user, 91-year-old Frank Huber. The World War II Navy veteran has been using the facility since 2000 and the staff decided to throw him — take your pick — a belated 91st birthday party or an early 92nd birthday party. Either way the gesture was warmly delivered by Tribal Health staff and warmly received by Frank and wife Bonnie and daughter Karen, and his fellow workout buddies.
The U.S. Navy veteran who has “been all over the world” began his service to America in 1941 and saw action in World War II, the Korea Conflict and the Viet Nam War before dropping anchor in the calm seas of retirement in the Mission Valley.
“This is a little bit of a tribute to Frank for being so dedicated to staying physically active and healthy,” said Margene Asay, THHS Fitness Centers Program manager and Health Educator. “Frank is my hero and I just want to give him credit for still pumping so much iron.”
On January 3, 1999 Huber had a heart attack. It would end up being a life altering wake-up call that caused him to focus on his health and future prospects of staying on top of terra firma with a good view instead of underneath with a Jimmie Hoffa view.
“After the heart attack I had no energy and was feeling very lackadaisical all the time. During recovery my neighbors told me they used the fitness center here and said I should try it out,” Huber said. In 2000, Huber figured he’d start out the new century and new millennium right with a new attitude and a new dedication to maintaining his health. Huber is now a fixture at the fitness center and works out five days a week usually with training partner 81-year-old Bill Coffman, a Korea Conflict veteran. “I’ve been coming here ever since. I figure every day that I do this helps keep me above ground a little longer.”
World War II, Korea Conflict and Viet Nam War Navy veteran Frank Huber was honored by the St. Ignatius Fitness Center staff, including Margene Asay for his dedication to maintaining an active lifestyle. (B.L. Azure photo)
Huber expressed gratitude to the fitness center staff for the recognition and for the birthday party and all the huckleberry-flavored gifts. “This is nice,” he said.
The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes THHS fitness centers in Elmo, Ronan, St. Ignatius and Arlee are open to the non-Indian public for a nominal monthly fee; there is no contract. The monthly rate for the non-tribal public is $25. For people 55 years and older the rate is $20. Besides access to all the THHS facilities and equipment, folks can also receive assistance and advice from the fitness centers staff. The fitness center gym is also available to rent for group activities for $50 an evening.
For more information contact: St. Ignatius Fitness Center, 745-4242; Arlee Community Center, 726-2302; Elmo Fitness Center, 849-5616; and, Ronan Fitness Center, 676-0138