By Russell Dotson
More than 500 people attended the annual Health Quest Friday at the Mayborn Campus Center. Representatives from 60 health related businesses in the greater Belton community set up booths with informative pamphlets and other items for visitors to take with them and receive various free health tests.
Coordinator for Health Services, Debbie Rosenberger, said this is the 10th year for the free fair.
Nate Williams, director of Counseling and Testing and Health Services, worked on creating the event 10 years ago with Jeannie Rupp, the former coordinator of Health Services.
“Health Quest was in the Shelton Theatre until it grew too large. Then we moved it into the Sub,” Williams said.
Rosenberger remembers the health fair from 2004, when she came to work at UMHB.
“There were about 30 vendors. We had too many for Shelton, so we had a massage parlor down in the SUB,” she said. “It has really grown since then. Over 500 usually come. The purpose is to disseminate information about health so people can make healthy lifestyle choices and be informed….”
This year’s fair had more vendors than every before.
“Of the varying community organizations, all the local hospitals were here, as well as the Central Texas Council of Alcohol and Drug Abuse, Susan G. Komen’s Race for the Cure, American Cancer Society and Red Cross,” Rosenberger said.
Many attendees walked around with little cups filled with a tasty red slushy. Lou Nichols, was giving the cups out to promote Sunny Sky Products, a line of health beverages.
Several optometrists had booths, and even the Wal-Mart Vision Center promoted eye health.
Not all of the booths were directed solely at personal health. Aware Central Texas, ACT, had a booth to spread awareness of child abuse and neglect. It is a non-profit organization that receives referrals from Child Protective Services. ACT gave out pamphlets showing people how to help by volunteering time. They also handed out invitations for an art auction at the Salado Silver Spur Theatre, April 16. The proceeds will go to Helping Hands Ministry and ACT.
Just inside the arena’s double doors, Maryland Fenwick, a senior nursing major, stopped visitors to have them fill out raffle tickets. She invited students to fill out Health Quest evaluation forms for a chance to win an iPod Nano donated by Dr. Larry Montgomery from Montgomery Chiropractic.
Fenwick helped organize and promote this year’s Health Quest fair as a part of her degree requirements.
“The capstone project is a senior project that all nursing majors have to complete in order to graduate,” she said. “It is about a three-month process. We take over a project like Health Quest and do something for the community. At the end, we have a big presentation. It’s just like a major project we would have if we were working in the community as a nurse.”
Fenwick awarded door prizes to many of the participating visitors.
“We handed out collapsible camping chairs, gift bags with beauty products, candles, purses and all sorts of things,” she said. “We also gave out a two-week free pass to Jazzercise.”
Jarvis Thrasher, a senior exercise and sports science major, attended Health Quest for the first time.
“I walked around to the different booths, such as the ones for Osteoporosis and clogged arteries,” he said. “A lot of the information was stuff I already knew from EXSS classes, but I went and looked at some things I didn’t know too much about, like breast cancer and the Susan G. Komen fund.”
Thrasher said he also took advantage of the opportunity to have his blood pressure checked, but he didn’t have a chance to have his cholesterol tested.
“My blood pressure’s doing all right,” he said. “It could be better, but it’s all right.”