Jim Thorpe Memorial Hall was transformed into a one-stop-shopping information center for hundreds of area senior citizens on Thursday.
Carbon County residents of all ages visited the hall for Speaker of the House Keith McCall's Annual Senior Fair, in the hopes of learning what help is available to them. Many even lined up outside the building before the fair was scheduled to open.
Bob Caton, press secretary to McCall, said that he thinks this year was the largest, and said that he expected at least 1,000 seniors to attend the event. By 10:30 a.m., Memorial Hall was packed with area residents looking for information, screenings, talking with state and county officials, and socializing with friends and acquaintances.
Caton said people could find out a lot about agencies that are out there; as well as get their blood pressure and oxygen levels checked and even get a free back massage.
Vendors that were present included assisted living facilities, home care facilities, health care providers, state and county social agencies, pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, and more. Congressman Paul Kanjorski, as well as Carbon County Commissioners William O'Gurek, Charles Getz, and Wayne Nothstein also made an appearance at the event in the hopes of speaking with seniors about issues they are facing; and a free lunch by Memorial Hall was provided.
After talking with many of the people in attendance, McCall commented that he was thrilled with everything.
"I'm always impressed with the turnout," he said. "The information that we have here for seniors is invaluable. This event really is a one-stop-shop to see what is being offered."
McCall added that he hopes whoever is elected to the House of Representatives in the upcoming election whether it be Justin Yaich or Doyle Heffley will continue the program in the years to come.
"It is important to hold this event," he said.
McCall also pointed out the boxes of nonperishable food donations at the entrance that will be sent to various food banks in the county. This is the second year McCall asked seniors to donate the food items.
Area seniors who attended echoed McCall's thoughts.
"This is a great affair," said Betty McFadden of Nesquehoning. "It's good to come and see all the vendors and so many smiling faces."
Louise Mele of Nesquehoning said this was her second time attending the event.
"They offer a lot of information for seniors," she noted.
Vince Gallagher of Lansford was impressed.
"It's wonderful," he said.
He also wished McCall the best during his retirement.
"Keith is a good man. He helped me a lot. I hope he enjoys his retirement."
McCall's Annual Senior Fair has grown significantly over the years in size and popularity, having first been held in the Carbon Plaza Mall in Lehighton until its move to Memorial Hall in Jim Thorpe.