Congratulations James Fitzgerald on being named the 2016 Gold’s Gym LEGACY (Most Inspirational Employee) award winner.
James has lived his life with Down syndrome (a genetic disorder caused when abnormal cell division results in extra genetic material from chromosome). As a young naive boy I learned that a person with Down syndrome is born with an extra chromosome and it made more sense to me at the time that if a person had more chromosomes he should have super powers rather than it being a disability. Having had the amazing opportunity of spending a lot of time with James I have realized that I wasn’t far off. James has more friends than I could ever hope to have at the Gym and on Facebook and he knows all of their names and he knows about their families and he sincerely cares about them. Many members will even give James a bear hug every day as part of their pre workout ritual. He inspires people every day to be better with his smile and his genuine love for people. Every day James walks a mile to the bus stop and travels almost an hour on the bus just to get to work. Before he starts his work day he spends 40 minutes on the treadmill, 5 minutes on the rower and ends his work out with a free weight or circuit training workout…Every day! In doing this he has lost 15 pounds. I regularly have members tell me how much he inspires them. James is very active in the community with Boy Scouts of America, The Special Olympics, and many other charitable groups/organizations that help the community. Last year James put together a weekly group Functional Training class specifically designed for those with special needs and every Saturday between 8-15 people would show up for a great workout. Many of them commented how much the class helped them feel better physically and improve their day to day lives. Our gym wouldn’t be the same with out him. James is always thinking about other people and how he can help them and I can’t think of a person more passionate and deserving of the award.