Monday afternoon, Merrill native, author and wellness specialist Bill Cortright returned to his hometown for the first time since 1988, for an afternoon of activities in support of the River Bend Trail. By day’s end, over $8,000 had been raised for the trail and the ongoing pavilion project at the trail head on Park Street.
Born at Holy Cross Hospital of Merrill in 1961, Cortright attended Franklin Elementary School before graduating from Merrill Senior High in 1979. Cortright briefly attended Northcentral Technical Institute before enlisting in the US Navy; serving as a Physician’s Assistant.
It was during his military service and entry into the medical field that Cortright embarked on the career path advocating and educating on healthy living and wellness.
“I was very obese as a child and even as a young adult; weighing 278 pounds and being diagnosed as a diabetic,” he explains. “I lost 123 pounds and went on to win seven body building titles. I literally went from one extreme to the other. I’m now 56, have kept the weight off for over 30 years and am now diabetes free. But aside from losing the weight, I wanted to understand why I was overweight. While in the service and entering into the medical field, I stated researching the ‘why’ aspect and began to understand how the body works and why people get sick.”
Upon discharge from the US Navy in 1988, Cortright moved to Miami where he teamed up with Dr. Williams, a researcher at Tufts University. It was during his later research that Cortright learned of the role stress can have on weight gain.
The discovery led to his first book titled “The Stress Response Diet” in 2009; selling over 160,000 copies.
“I’ve traveled the world as a professional speaker to groups and events of all sizes about the truth about stress,” he said.
Other accomplishments include the completion of his most recent book, “The Ten Minute Life Plan,” founding Living Right With Bill Cortright Inc. in Orlando last February and venturing into the world of podcasting last year as well with “Stress Mastery.”
Cortright has played an integral role in the construction of wellness clinics in Peru, Panama, The Phillipines staffed by certified physicians as well as the first ever wellness clinic in Miami.
Monday’s itinerary of events consisted of a Merrill High School visit, book signing at T.B. Scott Library, Meet and Greet at the new pavilion at the River Bend Trail Head and key note speaker at Prairie River Middle School Monday evening. Donations were accepted at each event for the River Bend Trail.
Following Monday’s events, Cortright’s next stop will be the Twin Cities where he will host “The Event to help people take control of their life, health and habits” at the Hilton Airport Mall of America. The event will run Friday-Sunday.