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How My Father, a WWII Decorated Veteran, Inspired My Wellness Journey

I used my pain as my purpose to finally end my wellness cognitive dissonance. This post contains an excerpt from an article published in my local paper.

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Local Author Inspired by Decorated WWII Veteran


“Five and a half years ago, I never could have imagined where I would be today,” said Dr. Lori (Balogh) Lindbergh, daughter of the late James E. and Margaret Balogh. “Life was so different back then; I was feeling a bit hopeless and ready to give up on ever finding my true passion and purpose in life. My unsettled feelings kept me thinking, there’s got to be more for me.” Unexpectedly, Lori’s purpose emerged after her father and decorated WWII veteran suffered a mild heart attack in December 2016. He survived the incident, however, Lori said, “My sisters and I felt that he and our mother required additional care and support to maintain their independence and quality of life so they could continue living at Graystone Court Apartments.”


James was a 1943 graduate of Richland High School and stand-out athlete. He served with the 3rd Infantry Division in the US Army during WWII where he earned four Purple Hearts, the Bronze Star, and French Croix De Guerre. He played semi-professional baseball and earned a degree in health and physical education from Slippery Rock. He retired from Westmont Hilltop High School after 33 years of service as a teacher and head basketball coach.


After her father’s heart attack, Lori felt called to relocate her family back to Johnstown from Florida. Little did she know this turn of events would put her on the road to fulfilling the mission and purpose she had been searching for and was meant to fulfill. Lori graduated in 1978 from Richland High School and became a registered nurse, healthcare leader, and later achieved her doctorate in Industrial/Organizational psychology. Her career included leadership roles in consulting and healthcare organizations. “I kept searching for the thing or the job that would ignite my passion and purpose. I know now why I never found it.”


“Looking back, I realize I had been an unhealthy leader for over thirty years.” However, Lori recalled that just prior to her father’s heart attack, fatefully a colleague suggested, she read the book by Dr. Michael Greger, How Not to Die and give lifestyle medicine a try, which included using a whole-food, plant-based nutrition plan. She found compelling evidence that following a whole-food, plant-based plan had the power to mitigate and reverse chronic diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, and even some cancers. Lori and her husband experienced considerable benefits within two weeks of making the change. After her father’s heart attack, Lori suggested he and her mother give it a try. They agreed and experienced immediate benefits as well. “I truly believe we were able to extend my father’s life for four more years; however, old war injuries and years of behaviors that I now know impact longevity caught up with him.” Sadly, James passed away in January 2021 at 96 years old.


After moving back to Johnstown in 2017, Lori continued her quest to get healthy and mitigate any chronic diseases she was developing and sustain the lives of her parents. She left her leadership job and pursued board certification as a health and wellness coach throught the Mayo Clinic and the National Board for Health and Wellness Coaching (NBC-HWC) and achieved board certification in lifestyle medicine (DipACLM) throught the American College of Lifestyle Medicine. She worked as a health and wellness coach, helping leaders and employees in organizations achieve their wellness goals using lifestyle medicine. Lori found that leaders, like her father, were too busy taking care of the business and others to the detriment of their own health.


After her father passed away, Lori experienced a deep sadness and felt she had lost her passion and purpose. With the help of her sisters, she continued to support her mother’s health and wellness, yet she neglected her own. In September 2021, something clicked, and she felt her father’s inspiration directing her to use her pain to drive her purpose. Lori said she remembers thinking, “What would dad do? He would shake it off, not give up, and serve with honor.” Like he always did as a brother, soldier, veteran, husband and father, teacher, and coach. At that moment, “I decided to get back on track and began putting my passion into words on the page so I could heal, share my wellness journey, and support and serve others to achieve their best selves.”


That’s when WELL-LEADER MINDSET™ was born, a framework to support leaders on their wellness journey. Lori committed to completing her manuscript by January 2022, one year after her father’s passing. His words and his never-ending determination to live life to the fullest kept her going every day. Lori’s manuscript is at the publisher now and is due out in October 2022. Her grief and pain truly became her purpose. She reports that she has since achieved incredible health and wellness that feels authentic and easy for her lifestyle. Longevity is in her DNA, and she is not going to squander what she has been given. Lori and her sisters continue to support their mother who is 90 years old, happy, and content in her life, having shared 67 years with an amazing husband and patriot who refused to give up.


Currently, Lori focuses her health and wellness business as an Executive and Leader Wellness Investment Strategist helping her clients learn how to treat their health as an important wealth. By doing so, they achieve the long-term, authentic health and the wellness they desire that fits their lives, so they can then empower and engage employees and create a culture of well-being in their organizations. Lori offers leadership strategic wellness 1-on-1 experiences and is available for speaking engagements and onsite and virtual workshops.


Contact her at lori@loriuslifestyle.com. Learn more about her experiences at www.loriuslifestyle.com and her upcoming book WELL-LEADER MINDSET: OPTIMIZE YOUR HEALTH & WELLNESS ROI at www.well-leadermindset.com. Lori plans to donate a percentage of her book proceeds to local veteran’s organizations in which her father led, participated, and supported.

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This still brings tears to my eyes when I think about my father and his determination to be his best self and serve with honor. Let me know who inspires you to be your best self?



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