A La Porte County Life in the Spotlight: Thor Thordarson

By: Steven Neville Last Updated: October 14, 2015

ThorThordarsonThe old adage goes that when you think positive thoughts, and surround yourself with positive people, positive situations manifest themselves more often than not. And for this week’s Life in the Spotlight, IU Health La Porte’s CEO Thor Thordarson, positivity means abiding by four simple rules in life: The Four Fs, as Thordarson calls the mantra.

“Family, fun, fitness, and friends,” said Thordarson. “The people you hang out with can determine a lot of what you do in life. That’s how I got started towards a healthier lifestyle over the past 15 years, I have some very good friends who got me up and started kicking my butt.”

Thordarson, a former nurse, had always wanted to make a difference in people’s health ever since he was a little kid and had witnessed his grandmother as a nurse make lasting changes in people’s daily lives.

“My grandmother got me interested in Nursing because I saw the ability she had to make a positive, lasting difference in people’s lives,” Thordarson said about his career path. “But what I have learned over the years is that there are so many ways to make a difference in people’s lives, every day.”

And one of those ways Thordarson is changing the lives of people in La Porte, and those he works with as well, is through his “Walks With Thor,” where employees meet on Monday mornings outside the IU Health La Porte building and just walk and talk.

So simple, yet so effective, Thor puts it. A small change that can make a big difference.

“This new technology nowadays really strikes home how inactive a lot of people are at work,” Thordarson explained about the decision to start a "Walk With Thor". “This first day I turned my new smart phone on, I checked the pedometer it had out of curiosity and it was interesting to see how inactive I was. These walks are a way to change that, and get outside and be active.”

Because as Thordarson puts it, in the world of health and fitness, there is no greater reward than the good feelings which come from being active; even if it's just a simple walk.

“I completed an Ironman in 2009,” Thordarson said. “And what I learned from training for that is that doing it isn’t about breaking records, it’s about getting to the point where you’re getting out there and you are having fun doing it.”

“Just getting out there and breathing in the fresh air, that’s the reward.”

And Thordarson says he is lucky to live and work in a town like La Porte, where fresh air and natural beauty exist in harmonious abundance.

“I love riding my bike and going for long runs,” said Thordarson. “Doing these activities has allowed me to really explore the beauty of La Porte. I mean, you don’t always realize it, but we are lucky to live in La Porte where there are 14 different parks.”

14 parks that the staff at IU Health La Porte are now writing "prescriptions" to area children for.

“One of our cool initiatives to get kids out into the fresh air is our ‘Prescriptions for Parks’ project,” explained Thordarson. “It’s just a fun way to get kids outside and play. And, you know, if they have a prescription for it they have to get out there and do it.”

Walks With Thor, Prescriptions for Parks, these all boil down to one common theme that best describes Thordarson’s mission in life: helping people become happy.

“It’s no secret, healthy people tend to be happy and happy people tend to be healthy.”