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Expo pushes youth health, safety tips
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Examples of lighters that look like other objects are displayed at the Hall County Fire Services table Saturday at the Children and Youth Health and Safety Expo. - photo by NAT GURLEY

American Legion Post 328

Mail: American Legion Georgia Post 328, P.O. Box 328, Flowery Branch, GA 30542


More information: 770-539-2849,

Saturday’s second annual Children and Youth Health and Safety Expo at the Academies of Discovery Gym in Oakwood featured safety tips from organizations like American Red Cross, Expanded Food And Nutrition Education Program and Hall County Fire Services.

Those tips included fire prevention and what to do in a fire, healthier eating habits and health plans for families.

Organizer and American Legion Post 328 Commander Stephen McGruder said the Flowery Branch post wants to help educate and be a “positive force” with youth on health and safety topics despite a slim turnout Saturday.

“The main reason we had this today was to educate parents, as well as students about health and safety,” he said.
“This (expo) brought out ideas (for the future). That’s what I like. The energy from the members (of the command post) , they are all involved and engaged in what we want to do. They understand what we want to do. Sometimes, it doesn’t come out perfect, but as long as we learn from it and build from it, it’s going to eventually lead to all positives.”

McGruder’s 14-year-old son Stephen, said safety is a “great” way to live. He said he knew certain things about fire safety before attending, but learned more about nutrition at the EFNEP table than he knew.

He said he learned nutrition can take you far in life and eating bad foods at a young age can potentially lead to diseases. His favorite foods are cantaloupe and strawberries.

“Safety is one of the main things you have to have,” he said. “You have to know how to get out if there’s a fire. You need to know how to plan out your nutrition so you can be happy and healthy.”

Veteran Stephanie Watkins brought her 2-year-old grandson, Dexter Cobb Jr., so he could play on and see the Red Cross vehicle and fire truck parked outside the gym.

He also went through every station inside, receiving a certificate of completion and a firefighter Elmo doll.

“Safety is very important,” Watkins said. “It feels great to see the local post is working in collaboration the different agencies within the community to get the word out about health and safety.

“The opportunity to outreach and for everybody to be in one central location, reaching the community is important. And I think efforts to include student bodies from all the schools, city and county schools, in the future would guarantee better turnout.”

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