VIDEO: North Utica Fitness Center life-saving for some residents

Liz Douglass had been calling her husband for 36 hours. It wasn’t like Paul to go so long without talking to his wife.

With thousands of miles between them, Liz called her son.

“Something’s wrong with Dad,” she said from Florida where she was vacationing. With his 5-year-old son in tow, the Douglass’ son raced to their home, broke in and found Paul close to death on his bed.

“What we didn’t know at the time, is he had a heart attack,” Liz said.

“I didn’t know until two weeks after a triple bypass surgery that I had a heart attack,” Paul added.

And so after an intense surgery, rehab started – walks on the treadmill, light weights.

Soon enough, it was up to Paul to do his own rehab.  That’s when a blessing from the North Utica Community Center came along. Just weeks after rehab ended, and Paul was deciding how and where he would continue the training as directed by his physical therapists, the center opened a fitness center. It’s the only fitness center like it in the area, the closest being 20 minutes away, Paul said. And it’s because of a $34,959 investment from The Community Foundation that made the creation of the center possible.

“It’s a mile from my home, and I wouldn’t be able to do the treatment I need to stay healthy if I didn’t have it close,” Paul said. “I couldn’t afford to go to the others and the closest gym is 20 minutes away and especially in the winter, I would not be able to get there. Now, we are able to go daily, and it’s life-saving.”