Health Fair also draws attention to military support group
The fourth annual Family Health and Safety Fair featured many activities for families, along with an assortment of information from various organizations Saturday afternoon at the Wellness Center of Cape Coral.
The fair, which was sponsored by Heart and Soul Massage Therapy Day Spa and the Wellness Center of Cape Coral, was held to honor the Military Support of Lee Memorial Health System. The organization has provided 33,000 pounds of care packages to the troops deployed oversees since it began in May 2003.
Military Support Coordinator Kim Gaide, who has worked in the Lee Memorial Health System for 25 years as an office manager for various doctor’s offices, decided she wanted to do something for the troops seven years ago. The organization is near and dear to her heart because her son was in the service for many years before he was honorably discharged and now works in the community.
Gaide said they have provided help for 969 local troops by sending care packages once a month, along with helping families as much as they can.
Gaide said her favorite part of the organization is seeing the service men and women come home. She said she stays in contact with the troops while they are away, so she knows how they are doing, what they need and when they come home.
She said people do not fully understand how hard it is to have a family member in the military, which is one of the reasons she began the organization so “we can do whatever we can to help.”
“My life has been touched,” she said since beginning the organization.
Recently a veteran donated a 3,000-square-foot “closet” to the Military Support program to store all the goods that were donated to them to send to the troops.
Some of the items that Gaide needs on a regular basis to send to the troops deployed oversees includes white socks; toilet paper; Ramon noodles; meat in pouches like tuna, chicken, salami, beef jerky, pepperoni; lip balm or chap stick; suntan lotion; snack packs of fruit, pudding, cheese and crackers and bubble gum and hard candy.
Gaide said the fair is a great way for her to get the word out about Military Support because people “have no idea we even do this.”
The fair began Saturday morning with a flag ceremony courtesy of the Coast Guard.
The event had two live performances by the Maranatha Dance and Littleton Elementary School from North Fort Myers, along with live music by The Classix.
AVarious activities tookplace both inside and outside of the Wellness Center Saturday afternoon. The Cape Coral Police Department, Cape Coral Fire Department, Lee County EMS, Lee County Sheriff’s Office and the Fort Myers Police Department had their vehicles outside, so the children could sit inside of the vehicles.
The Lee Memorial Health System Blood Mobile was also outside for those who wanted to donate blood.
Heart and Soul Massage Therapy Day Spa Office Manager Debbie Fasenmyer said they had approximately 10 blood donors before noon, adding that they will probably have 14 donors by the end of the day.
The activities held inside of the Wellness Center included a crafts table for the children, chair massages courtesy of Heart and Soul Massage Therapy, blood pressure checks, free chidlren’s fingerprinting, hearing checks, the Cape Coral K-9 unit, Coastie the talking tugboat and McGruff the Crime Dog. Individuals could also register to vote at the Lee County Elections table.
She said they also had about 20 children get their free fingerprints done.
A table was also set up to provide individuals with the opportunity to sign Christmas cards for the troops deployed oversees. Fasenmyer said they had about a dozen cards signed during the fair, which will be sent to active military for Christmas.
The Bridge Builders Club of Fort Myers also had a booth set up during the fair to offer information about their free program for 6th through 12th grade kids.
Board Member Steve Tinklepaugh said they began the faith-based program six years ago to reach out to at-risk children in the community. He said they have assisted more than 8,000 students since opening.
“We want to reach into kids lives before the world does,” Tinklepaugh said. “We want to provide them with a trusting environment for them to go to.”
The Bridge offers a safe environment for kids after school from 2-6 p.m. and on Friday nights from 7-10 p.m. For information call (239) 274-3437. The Bridge Youth Center is located at 2128 Cleveland Ave.
Jennifer Herrmann, Cape Coral resident attended the fair for the first time Saturday afternoon due to her daughter participating in the Maranatha Dance performance.
She said she thinks the fair is a really good idea because it provided her daughter with the opportunity to sit in an ambulance and police car.
“I think it’s good because it makes them less fearful,” Herrmann said about police officers. She said it helps teach the children that police officers are okay to go to if something happens.