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HealthSmart Expo puts fresh spin on aging
Free health screenings also part of event
Lanier Technical College nursing student Stevie Ankerich, right, takes information from Zemma Gaither Wednesday morning prior to her free health screening during the HealthSmart Expo.

Guest speaker Dr. Marc Agronin told a crowd of more than 100 people at the Gainesville Civic Center on Wednesday morning that people should all open a new dialogue on the idea of growing old.

“We focus so much on the downside of aging that we often miss a completely different perspective,” said Agronin, an author and expert on the topic. “We often internalize these thoughts as we get older, and it can really limit how we see our possibilities.”

The ninth annual HealthSmart Interactive Health & Wellness Expo offered, among other things, this positive perspective on aging. Other perks to attending the event: free health screenings.

“We’ve got an exciting day,” said Kit Dunlap, president and CEO of the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce. “The free health screenings are the best part of what we’re doing today. That’s a great service. You can get your glucose levels, blood pressure and other tests all free of charge.”

Julie Long of Oakwood came out Wednesday specifically to get a free health screening.

“Free. You can’t beat that,” Long said, laughing. “I came to this last year too. It’s a good service to the community, and I think that’s a rare kind of thing these days.”

The free health screenings also included body mass index calculation, venous reflux screening, cholesterol and triglycerides.

More than 60 vendors showed up to exhibit the services they offer.

Brian Daniel, chairman of the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce, said that by day’s end there were more than 1,000 people expected to attend.

Daniel said the annual HealthSmart event came about “as part of our Vision 2030 process ... as we thought about ways of making health a greater focus in our community as we move forward together. It’s become a significant initiative for the chamber and our community.”

Vision 2030 was born in 2005 after a leadership summit introduced the concept of community visioning to more than 100 community leaders. Residents were asked to share ideas for how they want to live, work and play in Gainesville and Hall County over the next 25 years.

Dunlap said being able to put on HealthSmart every year is an honor.

“It’s a great event that we enjoy,” she said. “Especially being able to have speakers like Agronin here with us, that’s wonderful.”

Agronin encouraged those in attendance Wednesday to take a fresh look at aging.

“Consider a different way of thinking about it,” he said. “As we get older, with more experience, with greater interaction with other people, we can really develop all these aspects of wisdom, and this serves as fuel to help us reenergize.”

Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce Most Fit Company Awards

Small Company Award (50 or fewer employees): South State Bank

Medium Company Award (51-200 employees): SFK USA Inc.

Large Company Award (251+ employees): Hall County Sheriff’s Office and Brenau University