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Hunting for good health at Fulton County Fair

Fulton Co. Medical Center offers chance for hunters and nonhunters to check their health

Fulton Co. Medical Center offers chance for hunters and nonhunters to check their health

October 01, 2007|By JENNIFER FITCH

McCONNELLSBURG, Pa. - It's not just anywhere that you can get a free camouflage T-shirt and an EKG.

Yet, the first 150 people through the doors at the 20th annual Healthy Sportsman Fair did on Sunday.

They lined up before doors opened for Fulton County Medical Center's event that is designed to provide free health assessments in preparation for hunting season.

"A lot of times, that's the only testing they do. They don't see their primary care physician," said Misty Hershey, the medical center's marketing director.

Screenings included vision, cholesterol and glucose. This year's fair also featured local businessman Ray Koontz's trophy hunts and trailer sales to broaden its scope.

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"In the past, it's just been deer hunting. ... We'd like to open it up to even more vendors," Hershey said.

The medical center changed the fair's name from the "Healthy Hunter Fair" and moved it to the headquarters of American Legion Post 561 in anticipation of a record crowd.

Within a half-hour of the four-hour fair, 90 people had signed in compared to 150 overall in 2006.

"This is a great opportunity for the community," said Liz Sheehan, a Mercersburg, Pa., resident who only does a slight bit of hunting.

She underwent cholesterol and glucose screenings to determine the effectiveness of her prescribed medications. Sheehan said she goes to the fair each year, then follows up with her annual physical with her doctor shortly thereafter.

"I've been checked and most of them come back pretty good, but you never know," said Guy Truax, of Harrisonville, Pa.

Truax, who has hunted since childhood, said he has only missed one year of the fair since its inception.

Mabel Weller, of Cove Gap, Pa., was one of several people who said they don't hunt, but use the health fair as an opportunity to monitor their health.

"I wanted to get an EKG done and a blood sugar test," Weller said.

She explained that she has had heart problems and knows that diabetes runs in her family.

"It's just a chance for a checkup," Weller said.

Kim Harnish guided visitors to her booth through a series of questions that determine risk for heart disease.

As the manager of the medical center's cardiopulmonary rehabilitation program, Harnish told people about the 12-week course for those who have suffered a heart attack.

Exercise is combined with education, she said.

"They can identify other patients that have been down the road with heart disease and talk," Harnish said.

They often share tips about making food taste better and sleeping easier, she said.

Anthony Carbaugh, a deputy wildlife conservation officer, represented the Pennsylvania Game Commission at the Healthy Sportsman Fair.

"Basically, we're here to answer questions," Carbaugh said.

Early archery season started Saturday, and squirrel and grouse season begins in two weeks, Carbaugh said. Concurrent buck and doe seasons will again start the Monday after Thanksgiving as is tradition, he said.

"Fulton County is a heavily hunted area," Carbaugh said.

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