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The Fifth Annual Benton County Community Health & Wellness Fair was well attended by the community with more than 530 people in attendance. Those participating highlighted a wide range of health, wellness and community services that are readily available to local residents and did a great job of showcasing the event theme, “Making Healthy Connections.”

The event was made possible by the generosity of over 60 exhibitors and event sponsors including Virginia Gay Hospital, Virginia Gay Hospital Health Care Foundation, ChooseToRise/Kim Meyer, Fareway, HealthPartners UnityPoint Health, Monkeythis, Vinton Lutheran Home Communities, Vinton-Shellsburg Community School District, Vinton Parks & Recreation Department, Vinton-Shellsburg Farm to School Chapter and the VSCSD Summer Food Service Program.

Door prize grand winners for are Jen Sexton, Gene Hollingsworth, Nora Vaupel, and Linda Siela. Those prizes were made possible by Abbe Center, Arbonne, Be The Change Fitness Group, Benton County Rural Access Center, Benton County Sheriff, Community Resources of Iowa (CRUSH), Choose To Rise, Creating The New U -Revital U, Fareway Stores, Iowa Valley RC&D, Norwex, Train Station Fitness, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Virginia Gay Hospital, and Wilson Hite Insurance.

Vinton Family Medical Clinic nurse talks to a health fair attendee about blood sugar testing.

Many other vendors handed out freebies and door prizes of their own at their individual booths. An example was the Benton County Disaster Recovery Coalition who distributed free American Red Cross emergency bags composed of rations, dusk mask, poncho, survival blanket, first aid guide and kit, magnetic flashlight, drinking water and whistle with a message on the importance of how being prepared for a disaster can reduce fear, anxiety, and losses that accompany disasters.

Robin Martin, event organizer and director for the Virginia Gay Hospital Health Care Foundation, said, “Virginia Gay Hospital and the Virginia Gay Hospital Health Care Foundation thanks all the vendors, volunteers and the participants for following through with our theme and making health connections at this year’s event!”

“A special thank you goes out to the Vinton-Shellsburg Community School District for hosting the event at the high school and to one of our sponsors, Monkeythis, for hosting a networking breakfast for our vendor partners. We also need to mention all the student volunteers from the Vinton-Shellsburg High School who helped with set-up, clean-up or participated as their favorite storybook characters. They were wonderful to work with and had such a positive impact on the day’s success.”

The students dressed in costume were on hand to promote the VGHHCF’s participation in the national Reach Out and Read program and the end goal of preparing all children who enter kindergarten to read, learn and succeed. This was in addition to a free book made available to all kids 6 months to 5 years who attended the fair.

Vinton-Shellsburg High School students dressed in Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy coustumes at the health fair.

Anyone with questions or comments on the Benton County Community Health and Wellness Fair are encouraged to contact Robin Martin by phone at (319) 472-6375 or by email at rmartin@vghinc.com. To learn more about Virginia Gay Hospital and the Virginia Gay Hospital Health Care Foundation, visit www.myvgh.org and www.myvghfoundation.org respectively.