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Fair offers seniors wealth of information

May 09, 2003|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

Raymond Wollard, 78, and Betty Wollard, 76, left Thursday's Senior Fair with meals under their belts, bags of free items and new personal medical information.

This is the second year the Hagerstown couple turned out for the Washington County Commission on Aging's annual Senior Fair at the Clarion Hotel and Conference Center on Dual Highway in Hagerstown.

An estimated 2,000 people attended the 11th annual event despite the rain Thursday morning.

The Wollards took advantage of free screenings for blood pressure and skin cancer, picked up flyers, pens and candy, and topped it off with lunch - all for free.

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"I like the whole thing," Raymond Wollard said.

Nearby, Stanley and Doris Souders, both 75, were smiling as they prepared to leave.

"I see lots of nice people and get some good information," Stanley Souders said. "They have a very nice system."

One of the reasons they came this year, for the seventh time, was to get information on Alzheimer's disease, because they have a family friend who has the ailment, he said.

Jean Snook, 76, said she and two of her sisters attend each year to get information and to see people, some of whom they see only at the Senior Fair.

Among the groups and companies distributing information at 90 booths was the Washington County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association.

Representatives of the association, which shared a booth with State Farm Insurance Co., gave out brochures containing information on safe cooking practices, safe smoking habits and advice on what to do in the event of a cooking fire, among other topics.

"The people are very appreciative of the fire information," Fire and Rescue Association Treasurer Charles Shindle said.

Senior citizens at the fair seemed concerned about how their driving is affected as they age, said Allen Swope, assistant state coordinator of AARP's driver safety program.

Between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., more than 50 people stopped by AARP's booth to sign up for the driver safety classes, he said. At least 100 more stopped by the booth to get information, he said.

The program previously was known as 55 Alive.

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