Providers uniting for county health fair March 21

Marion County residents can become better aware of local and area health and wellness services by attending the Marion County Health Fair planned for Saturday March 21.

Organized by the Marion County Health Department and the two local hospitals, St. Luke in Marion and Hills?boro Com?munity, the fair will be from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the gymnasium at Hills?boro Elemen?tary School, 801 E. A St.

?We?ve got over 30 vendors coming to set up this year,? said Roger Schroeder from St. Luke. ?There?s a lot of different health and wellness services right here in the county, and sometimes I think we?re all kind of guilty of forgetting what we have here.?

Health fairs were offered in the county in the past, but disappeared for eight or nine years before returning last year at Marion.

Schroeder, Ken Johnson from HCH and Diedre Serene from the county health department lead an organizing committee that has been meeting every week for the past two months.

Serving with them are representatives from numerous local agencies, organizations and service providers.

?There?s a pretty good mix of people who have been coming to our planning meetings,? Schroeder said. ?I?m not going to say it?s the hardest thing in the world to do, but we have a lot of support and that makes it easy. It?s not just two or three people doing everything.?

Potential benefits

In addition to providing information about health and wellness services, fair participants can actually receive services in several ways.

One of the popular benefits off the fair is reduced-priced lab services provided through the two hospitals. Blood draws will be available at each hospital from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. March 16 through March 20. Results can be picked up at the fair with photo ID.

No appointments are required; payment is due at the time of service.

For $20, people can have blood draws for the following tests: BMP, LIPID and CBC with DIFF. Additional tests are available for $10: TSH, HgbAlc and PSA (only for men age 40 and over).

?The lab work is a really big push,? Schroeder said. ?We had a decent turnout last year, but it?s a big thing in that we offer a wide variety of tests for a very affordable price. For most people, it could be cheaper than going through their insurance.

?For people who don?t have insurance, it?s going to be a lot more affordable to come in than to do it on your own. The only restrictions are: you can only do (blood draws) the week before the Saturday health fair, and there?s only a certain time in the morning that you can get those done.?

Topical classes

Another benefit for attenders are five health and wellness classes offered twice on site during the fair.

? Mark Rogers will lead a class on, ?Circles Marion County: The Urgency to Eradicate Poverty,? at 9:30 and 10 a.m.

? Cindy Reeh will led a class on ?Diabetes Educa?tion? at 10:30 and 11 a.m.

? Marion County EMS will teach ?Basic First Aid? at 10:30 and 11 a.m.

? Renae Reidy?s class topic will be ?My Plate: Nutri?tional Education? at 11:30 a.m. and noon.

? Deb Grey will speak on ?Substance Abuse? at 11:30 a.m. and noon.

?People can walk through the health fair and visit all of our vendors, but there will be classes where they can sit maybe 20 minutes or so,? Schroeder said. ?We?ll start them every half hour and run them during the length of the event.?

Coming together

The planning team hopes the health fair will help bring the county together, according to Schroeder.

?Sometimes there?s some friction between the towns, but we?re coming together,? he said. ?I think this idea of flipping back and forth between Marion and Hills?boro every year is a good thing.

?Last year, here in Marion, there was a good turnout?but it was a lot of Marion people who came and went through the event. Now this year, maybe it will be the same over there?maybe more Hillsboro people come this year.

?Our hope is to keep doing this every year. Maybe it turns into a bigger and better thing each year and people say, ?I?m going to Marion to check out that health fair even though it?s a 10-mile drive,? and vice versa.?

The three coordinators of the Marion County Health Fair can be reached for more information: Ken Johnson, 620-947-1460; Diedre Serene, 620-382-2550; and Roger Schroeder, 620-382-2177.