The Fort Coombs Armory hosted a community health fair on Jan. 22.



Organizer Lois Mendez-Catlin said about 23 vendors brought displays to the fair and many offered free services.



Angela Benton, representing the Early Learning Coalition of Northwest Florida, screened hearing and vision for children 2 years old and older. Several vendors offered blood sugar screening and blood pressure testing for adults.



Paulina Pendarvis, a volunteer coordinator for Sacred Heart Hospital of the Gulf, said this is the first of three health fairs planned by the Community Health Improvement Partners (CHIP). No date has been set for fairs to be staged in Carrabelle and Eastpoint.



Nikki Millender, who heads the county parks and recreation department, manages the armory and she was excited about the scope of the health fair. “I helped to set up a health fair in Carrabelle but it was not nearly as large and elaborate as this one,” she said.



In addition to onsite testing, there was lots of literature on topics ranging from tobacco, to depression, to hospice care and exercise.



Shelly Swenson, interim county extension manager and regional expert said, “We can all use more exercise,” as she distributed booklets explaining a low-cost, low-impact exercise program for seniors. Her booth featured information on exercise and a healthy diet.



Johanna White, of Workforce Florida, was at the fair to explain programs to help displaced workers reenter the marketplace. White said Workforce is changing their branding and, as of Feb. 10, the organization will be known as Career Source Gulf Coast.



The Franklin County Health Department, Weems Memorial Hospital and Sacred Heart hospitals were all on hand Phoenix Family Health Care Center in Carrabelle and Eastpoint Medical Center were on hand as well, along with Covenant and Big Bend hospices.



Buy Rite Drugs in Apalachicola had a display at the center of activity. In addition to offering numerous free goodies, they touted a free vitamin program now available to all customers. Buy Rite will provide a free bottle of chewable vitamins monthly for children under 12.



Volunteers from the Franklin County School left school early to help with the event.



The health fair was prominently advertised at the school and many students attended, and there was something for every member of the community at the fair.