Wellness Fair draws 500

By Kevin Wilson: Quay County Sun

Health was on the minds of 500 people Saturday at the Tucumcari Convention Center.

Approximately 75 booths filled every room of the Tucumcari Convention Center for the Quay County Maternal Child and Community Healthcare Council Wellness Fair. Participants ranged from those conducting eye checks to cholesterol screenings to small consultuations.

One such consultation was a balance check done by Matt Posinski, a physical therapist at Dan C. Trigg Memorial Hospital.

Posinski graded participants on a grade of 0 to 56, based on their ability to balance on one leg, to grab objects with each hand and to walk a short distance.

Posinski said people usually fall because of health conditions (previous surgeries or heart conditions) or their environment (pets, stairs, objects scattered across a floor) or a combination of both. After giving the test, Posinski said he makes recommendations on making their living areas safe and consulting a doctor about health conditions that may exist, and “of course, I’m going to promote physical therapy.”

Small tests like Posinski’s are at the center of the bi-annual fair’s intent — to show residents small ways they can improve their overall health and give them access to screenings that can help detect dangerous medical conditions.

“Its purpose overall (is showing the available assistance in the county, (as well as) to assist those who might not be able to (otherwise) access (health) screenings,” Posinski said.

After participants finished their day at the fair, they were encouraged to fill out evaluation forms for door prizes donated by area merchants.

One of those participants was Jessica Jasper. Jasper had never been to the bi-annual event, but thought it was a worthwhile endeavor for her weekend.

“It’s something to do in Tucumcari,” Jasper said as she filled out the evaluation. “That’s all that matters.”

Jasper said she came because she had a lot of small health issues, including hypoglycemia. Though she admitted she wouldn’t know until she could take the time to read them all on her own, her bag full of pamphlets would probably help her gain some new knowledge on the broad topic of health.

At the main lobby where Jasper filled out her evaluation, local food banks were on hand to take food or money donations as admission to the event — the cost was $1 or one can of food.

In one corner, law enforcement operated a kid’s corner full of games, while another corner featured students from the University of New Mexico giving screenings.

On the way outside, participants could see equipment used by emergency personnel and a demonstration of proper child seat usage in vehicles. An area outside of the building was cleared for a go-cart track, and another area was set aside for a bicycle safety demonstration.

The Wellness Fair is put together by the MCCH Council. Council Director Alida Brown said many new exhibits were added, and more information seemed to create a better fair for the 500 in attendance.

“I think all of it has been successful,” Brown said. “I think we’ll just try to build on what we’ve already been doing. We’ll explore and find out what else is out there.”