Sheila Costello, manager of nutrition services at Waldo County General Hospital, and her staff were honored recently with a 2014 Empower Award in Employee Wellness, one of only four such awards in the state.

The award came from the Wellness Council of Maine, whose mission is “to advance and promote good health among employees statewide so that the business community can maintain productive workforces to help them thrive and prosper.”

To achieve that, the Wellness Council, a statewide organization, helps businesses develop workplace wellness programs.

The nomination for Costello and her staff was based on the healthy changes that have been made in the hospital cafeteria, including:

· eliminating the sale of soda and high sugar drinks;

· replacing the candy near the cash register with fresh fruit and nut bars;

· reducing the size of the cookies;

· cutting high sodium and nutrient lacking meals with healthier options;

· implementing the “Check Plus” program, which includes calorie information on everything in the cafeteria;

· adding a daily wellness meal, with the whole nutritional breakdown;

· working with local farmers to include fresh and local produce and meat; and

· expanding the selection included in the salad bar along with the hours it is available.

The award was accepted by Brooke Reed, the hospital’s dietician, at the Maine Wellness Leadership Summit & Awards Luncheon.