Health, wellness education was focus of fair

By Pauline Liu
The Margaretville Hospital Spring Health Fair, held Saturday, set an all time record with 24 exhibitors and vendors from the community, double the number from previous years.  “This event by far had the most presenters, was the most fun, and had the most people in attendance,” said Fred Margulies of Margaretville, who is on the hospital’s board of directors.
Also new this year, the hospital provided many activities for children. “In addition to the many vendors, we have a children’s tent with plenty of activities, including a Teddy Bear Clinic,” said Executive Director Sandy Horan. The clinic was conducted in a mobile van by Sharon Gavette, nurse manager of the hospital’s emergency department. The children were given teddy bears, which they pretended were in need of treatment for a host of ailments. While they appeared to have fun, Gavette explained that the clinic also served a serious purpose. “We want to get kids used to the emergency room, so they can see that they’re not going to get hurt and we’re just going to fix things up,” said Gavette.

The event offered free screenings for cholesterol, glucose, oxygen, bone density and blood pressure as well as ambulance tours. There was mental health assistance from Rina Reba, counseling services through Joyce St. George of Project Hope and acupuncture information from Joan Medsker. Roxbury Central School’s gardener Madalyn Warren and students from the CROP Garden Project discussed the new vegetables and plants being grown in the RCS garden.

Nutritional information was provided by Tabitha Gilmore Barnes of the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Delaware County. Other groups and organizations that were represented included the Catskill Forest Association, the Central Catskills Chamber of Commerce,  the Fairview Library Knitting Group, the Historical Society of the Town of Middletown, the Interfaith Council and the Open Eye Theater.

During the fair, John Riedl, chairman of Hospital Auxiliary’s Wellness Committee, distributed awards to the winners of a children’s essay contest. Students from Andes, Margaretville and Roxbury Central Schools as well as the Catskill Mountain Christian Academy in Margaretville, were invited to write essays about what it means to be healthy. The essays were judged by a panel from the Writers in the Mountains. Awards were given out for elementary, middle school and high school categories. “Even the elementary students had an understanding of the need to eat healthy and how important wellness is,” said Riedl.

The health fair is a bi-annual event, which the hospital hosts in the spring and fall. According to organizers, the fair is a local tradition that has been held for more than 10 years.