Family Health and Fitness Day draws thousands

<p>Mindy Martinez, left, of VJM Hospice at Good Shepherd Medical Center, hands 6-year-old Brooke-Lynn Roeder a prize Saturday during the Family Health and Fitness Day at Hermiston High School.</p>

Despite the cold and the wind, thousands of local and regional individuals turned out to the Family Health and Fitness Day Saturday at Hermiston High School where they participated in a number of health and fitness-related activities.

“We were really concerned about the weather,” Juli Gregory, director of education at Good Shepherd Medical Center, said. “But the wind really died down, and the helicopters could land without any problem. The weather was actually quite cooperative. My understanding is that it all went really well.”

Despite the weather, Gregory said the event seemed to attract the same number of individuals as previous years, which in the past has been more than 4,000 people.

Gregory said about 65 to 70 vendors attended the event, which were all very well received.

The Casey Eye Institute took over a room and brought its screening van so individuals to receive full eye exams, including eye dilation, if it was needed. Despite the fact that it was booked solid for appointments prior to Saturday, staff tried to help additional individuals.

“They tried to accommodate all they could,” Gregory said.

Hermiston resident Rosemary Muldoon received a full eye exam and said the opportunity was very beneficial for her and for others who operate on a low income.

“It helps a lot,” she said.

Other activities included the chance to sit in on an emergency helicopter from Life Flight, participate in a bike rodeo and bike ride, take a Teddy bear through the Teddy bear clinic and much more.

The Teddy bear clinic, as always, was one of the most popular destinations for both volunteer workers and guests, Gregory said. She said they handed out anywhere from 400 to 600 bears, and participants met with volunteers at a number of stations to diagnose what was wrong with the stuffed animals.

Another popular stop was the children’s cooking station where children got to make up a healthy wrap using a variety of vegetables, cream cheese or peanut butter.

Hermiston resident Gaby Gerard said she and her two children come out to the health day every year and really appreciate the activities that allow them to work with their hands.

“It is really exciting,” she said. “They are having a lot of fun.”

Gregory said the bike rodeo also allowed them to fit more than 200 people with helmets, and many fitness day attendants were also very receptive to the dedication of the event to the late Dr. Marvin John.

“It was great that he was recognized and received so well,” she said. “It is great to honor such a wonderful man.”

Gregory said a huge thanks should go out to the many volunteers and committee members who helped to make the event happen.

“The committee works really hard for months on this event,” she said.

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