SEBRING — The Well Being Advisory Board, which collaborates on the Well Being in the Heartland monthly magazine, held its first health fair Wednesday morning at the Palms of Sebring. By all accounts, the fair was a success. Hundreds of guests visited more than a dozen vendors inside the health care facility.

Julia Mercer, director of marketing for The Palms, joined the magazine’s advisory board a year ago and was thrilled to be able to open the facility doors and welcome the vendors and guests in along with the other board members.

The advisory board and the magazine marked its one-year anniversary in October. The magazine is published by D-R Media & Investments, which also owns the Highlands News-Sun.

“The Palms was honored to volunteer to host the first fair,” Mercer said. “We like to give back to people in the community. We do a lot of outreach and networking. If there is a need that we cannot meet, we want to be able to point the person to someone who can help them.

“The advisory board is a place where friendships have been forged and there’s a lot of talent there,” she said. “It has been great to work with the newspaper and the board.”

Vendors represented all aspects of the health and well-being industries. Among them were hospitals, the American Red Cross, dermatologists, hearing and eye specialists, Veteran Services, elder/estate lawyers and more.

Florida Hospital Heartland Division did blood draws for attendees, which included a lipid profile and glucose for $10 that is offered at many fairs. Jim and Carol Ogden attended the fair and got their blood drawn.

“We get our blood work done every year with Florida Hospital,” said Jim Ogden. “It’s a great service. They just send the results straight to our doctor’s office. We really like Ampy (phlebotomist). Carol has very hard veins and she always gets her on the first try. They do a real service here to these local folks.”

The Ogdens were pleasantly surprised after attending the fair Wednesday.

“We were able to find someone who can repair and maintain Carol’s hearing aid,” he said. “We made that connection while we were here.”

The fair started at 8 a.m. so many visitors walked to the vendors from the breakfast table just yards away. Attendees were residents of The Palms as well as many others who came from all over the county.

Vendors had various offerings such as pens, magnets and thumb drives to take home. Scones homemade by Chef Mac Gentleman were well received. The breakfast bar menu also included cheese, fruit, coffee and juices.

“One of the challenges for people in the community is to know what resources are out there,” Laurie Murphy, Nu-Hope resource development director, said. “It’s great that The Palms can collaborate to hold events like this so that seniors and their caregivers have it available in their communities.”

Carol West with Veteran Services said she had several veterans who needed help to navigate their health benefits and had questions about other benefits they were due for their military service.

“I hear ‘I didn’t know that,’” West said. “I will have done my job if I can help one veteran with his or her needs.”

Highlands News-Sun Advertising Director Cliff Yeazel was very happy with the way the fair came together.

“This will be the first of several Well Being in the Heartland Health Fairs,” he said. “We plan to meet the needs of the communities where people work, live and play.

“We will be hosting fairs in Lake Placid and Avon Park as well,” Yeazel said. “The dates and times will appear in future editions of the magazine.

“I am thrilled with the overwhelming turnout. There is definitely a need.”

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