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Aerobics center offers services to Greensburg VFD |

Aerobics center offers services to Greensburg VFD

Steph Chambers | Trib Total Media
Bob Blissman, a firefighter with Greensburg Hose Co. 7, prepares to lift two dumbbells during an exercise class at The Aerobic Center at Lynch Field in Greensburg on Thursday, Nov. 13.
Steph Chambers | Trib Total Media
Greensburg Hose Co. 7 Lt. Steve Fontana completes rows with a barbell as another firefighter steps onto a block.
Steph Chambers | Trib Total Media
Robert Giles, captain of Greensburg Hose Co. 6, does push-ups.
Steph Chambers | Trib Total Media
Firefighters with the Greensburg Volunteer Fire Department work out during an exercise class at The Aerobic Center at Lynch Field in Greensburg on Thursday, Nov. 13, 2014.

The year is 1987, “Walk Like an Egyptian” by The Bangles is topping the charts, and a group of Greensburg firefighters is aerobic dancing at The Aerobics Center at Lynch Field.

Hutch’s Dancing Bears, an aerobics group of Greensburg firefighters led by Fire Chief Ed Hutchinson, became well known for a unique brand of fitness. The group traveled to Harrisburg and Philadelphia to perform.

The group and aerobic dancing eventually fizzled, but the bond between the Greensburg Volunteer Fire Department and The Aerobic Center never did.

Twenty-seven years later, The Aerobic Center at Lynch Field is offering a one-of-a-kind course to members of the Greensburg Volunteer Fire Department — TORCH! Get fired up!

The course is taught by Shelley Soles and Linda Morrison every Tuesday and Thursday evening at the center, a nonprofit community fitness center owned by the city of Greensburg.

TORCH! is a variation of Marianne Anzovino’s original aerobic dance class.

The class is a little more macho than the aerobics class, but the intimidation level is low. The guys motivate each other in fun and silly ways.

“The class encourages camaraderie … in a much more macho way,” said Anzovino, who has been the general manager at the Aerobics Center for 28 years.

The ultimate goal of the class is for the Greensburg firemen to stay physically fit and bond together.

“We are trying to prevent disease by helping our firefighters lose weight and get fit,” she said, “but they are always more motivated when they do it as a team.”

At the first class, 24 firemen showed up. That was two months ago and the course has never had less than 16 guys.

Assistant Chief Tommy Bell contacted Anzovino about helping the firemen get in shape again.

The department is made up of six companies and the majority of their active members are 40 and over.

“When on a call, we are working our bodies more than we normally do,” said Bell.

Bell notes that putting out the fire usually isn’t the most physically demanding aspect of the job; it’s the cleanup after the fire. He believes that, after just two months, his guys are already in a better place.

“As a whole, we are all definitely improving our stamina,” Bell said.

Mike Answine tries to attend every Tuesday and Thursday. In the classes, he’s done spinning, fitness stations, kickboxing, weight training and even yoga.

“I’m more physically fit,” said Answine, “I can meet the demands of my job. And from a health standpoint, my cholesterol is down.”

Though Bell pushed for the class, he said Hutchinson is “the guy behind it all.”

Hutchinson, now 93, can be found working out at The Aerobic Center nearly every day.

“He’s taught us that getting in a physical fitness routine is an important part of our job,” Bell said.

TORCH! is a benefit of becoming a volunteer firefighter in Greensburg. The Relief Association pays for the firemen’s memberships to the center, as well as their annual physicals and blood work.

“Firefighting is so physically demanding, fitness is one of the most important parts of our job,” said Bell.

Chloe Wertz is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.

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