Expo provides health, wellness info

Christy O’Callaghan-Leue, community educaor with Planned Parenthood Mohawk Hudson aids, from left, Oliver and Alice Tomchik and Tai Russo in making bracelets on Saturday at the fourth annual Connection Our Generations Health and Informational Expo at the Johnstown Senior Center. (The Leader-Herald/Eric Retzlaff)

JOHNSTOWN — Even though Arik Rachon looked a bit unsure as his mom, Jenni, held him still for a photo, it was for his own good.

The Johnstown Police Department was creating child IDs, including photo, fingerprints, height and weight during the fourth annual Connecting Our Generations Health and Informational Expo Saturday at the senior center.

“God forbid, if a child goes missing, we already have a headstart with the basic information,” said Sgt. Mike Pedrick, who was processing IDs for the parents to keep. He recommended new IDs every year as a child is growing up.

The ID service was part of the program that brought in agencies offering health and human services, co-sponsored by the county Office for the Aging and Public Health.

“We’re trying to provide the best information we can on health and wellness,” said Andrea Fettinger, director of the OFA.

For example, she said it is important to keep the elderly and their caregivers involved and in touch with the OFA, with such services as meals and a caregiver support group.

Recently a volunteer bringing home meals noticed an older man wasn’t himself and reported it, and help was provided, she said. The man was having a transient ischemic attack (TIA), a passing mini-stroke.

Fettinger said the expo provides “information in a place that isn’t threatening to people,” including issues of domestic violence, social services, crime victims assistance and emergency management.

Almost 50 area helping organizations had tables at the event. Patricia and Joe Paton of Hope were impressed with “all the information about keeping yourself healthy, feeling well, and socializing well,” Patricia said.

Public health nurse Cindy Christman had an eye-catching model home she used as a prop to tell the public about the dangers of lead poisoning from old paint, water pipes and cigarettes and ways to prevent it.

Bonnie Cain of the National Alliance on Mental Illness in Montgomery, Fulton and Hamilton Counties spent time talking with Gerard and Maureen McAuliffe of Perth. Gerard is a candidate for Fulton County Family Court judge and currently a private attorney and public defender.

“I’m interested in all of these services,” Gerard said, “I work with a lot of these agencies on a regular basis.”

Sean and Deanna Russo of Johnstown brought their son, Tai, and daughter, Aqua, to the event. Sean said he was pleased that his son got his vision tested by Walmart Vision Center.

Deanna said the program was also an opportunity to run into “people we know in the community.”

Audrey Bowman of Gloversville brought three great-grandchildren with her and plans to go over with them information provided at the expo. “It teaches them good health,” she said.

Roberta Thomas of This Is Bliss Massage Therapy gave free chair messages to show how massage therapy can produce relaxation, reduce stress, and improve blood flow.

The county district attorney’s office was represented by Elaina Foster, a victim advocate, who talked about Stop DWI and crime victim services.

“The kids like the goodies, while the adults learn about the programs,” she said. “A lot of people don’t know that victims have rights and there are various kinds of help for them.”

By Kerry Minor

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