John Caliri, director of FirstHealth Fitness, has been recognized as the 2017 winner of the Hank Boerner Pioneer Award by the Medical Fitness Association (MFA).
“The Pioneer Award is named for Hank Boerner, who passed away suddenly a few years ago,” says Caliri. “Hank was a friend of mine and a positive impact on everyone he met. He was an incredible person, one who I cannot live up to, and it is an honor to receive an award named after him.”
The award was presented at the 26th Annual Medical Fitness Association International Conference & Trade Show. The Hank Boerner Pioneer Award is given to an individual who has significantly advanced the medical fitness industry through their service to the industry and the association.
“In the past 20 years, John has dedicated his time to making a difference at FirstHealth and in the communities we serve,” says John F. Krahnert, M.D., chief medical officer of FirstHealth of the Carolinas. “He has worked effortlessly to establish services and programs that meet the needs of our members, and I can think of no one else who deserves this award more than him.”
A New Jersey native, Caliri moved to North Carolina during his service in the U.S. Marine Corps. He joined FirstHealth of the Carolinas in 1997 as aquatics director, then became operations director and later regional operations director before being named director of all five FirstHealth Fitness locations.
Caliri has been an active member of the MFA since 1998 and has served on the MFA’s Board of Directors, as well as being recognized as an MFA Fellow, the organization’s highest level of membership.
As director of FirstHealth Fitness, Caliri is responsible for all aspects of programs in Moore (which has centers in both Pinehurst and Southern Pines), Hoke, Montgomery and Richmond counties. The five centers combined have more than 11,000 members and will be opening their sixth location in Lee County in the fall of 2018.
FirstHealth Fitness centers are medically-based, full-service fitness facilities that offer everything from personal training to group exercise classes to wellness services.
“At FirstHealth, we believe that exercise is medicine, that appropriate exercise is appropriate for everyone and that if anyone comes to us, regardless of ability, current health status or past fitness experience, we can help them take personal responsibility for their health through regular physical activity,” says Caliri.
“For many years, the leadership of FirstHealth has given me and the staff at FirstHealth Fitness the opportunity to develop and implement programs and services. It is that leadership and the support to continue moving forward that allows us to impact the lives of our members and community. This award really belongs to the managers and staff at FirstHealth Fitness whose creativity, enthusiasm and expertise bring these programs to life. They are the ones who consistently innovate and make FirstHealth Fitness recognized across the country as a leader in medical fitness.”