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 the Senior Citizens Expo 2011, hosted by state Sens. David G. Argall and John T. Yudichak, and Rep. Doyle Heffley, 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.
Yudichak, a Democrat; and Argall and Heffley, Republicans, all agreed that the event was a success for everyone involved.
"It's one of the nicest things," Yudichak said as he looked around the packed hall, "Democrats and Republicans working together to help the seniors of our community. This is a great opportunity for us to educate seniors on what services are available to them."
He was impressed by the turn out and said that he hopes to continue the fair every year.
Argall, who has taken part in senior expos in his district in Schuylkill County, said he was happy to be part of the event.
"When we first started talking about the expo, we thought 'what if no one comes?' But looking around now, we didn't have to worry about that," he said. "The turnout was phenomenal. The best I've ever seen."
Heffley echoed Yudichak and Argall's thoughts, saying that he was impressed with the attendance; as well as with the 43 vendors who participated.
"I commend Sens. Argall and Yudichak for working with me on this first annual senior fair," Heffley said, noting that he promised last year, to keep his predecessor former Speaker of the House Keith McCall's senior fair running annually. "It's great that we could work together to help the seniors of Carbon County."
He thanked his staff for all their hard work to make this expo a success.
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.
Vendors that were present included assisted living facilities, home care facilities, health care providers, state and county social agencies, pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, and more. Some stations provided seniors with free blood pressure checks, oxygen checks, and even a senior crime prevention seminar.
Carbon County Commissioners William O'Gurek, Charles Getz and Wayne Nothstein; as well as commissioner candidate Tom Gerhard also made an appearance at the event in the hopes of speaking with seniors about issues they are facing. A free lunch by Memorial Hall was provided.
What did the seniors think of the event?
Everyone said that they thought it was very helpful and were happy that Heffley, Argall and Yudichak held the event.
"I was totally impressed," Bob Dobosh of Lansford said. "There is a lot of good information here. Anything a senior could want is here."
Edward and Rosann Leininger of Weatherly agreed that they found out a lot of useful information.
Vince Gallagher of Lansford was impressed.
Heffley added that the event would not have been possible without the support of area sponsors.
Also sponsoring the event were Redner's Warehouse Markets, Jim Thorpe National Bank, Mauch Chunk Trust Company, Blue Mountain Health System, Sterman Masser Potato Farms, Boyer's, the Carbon County Chamber of Commerce, PenTeleData, Carrigan's Country Pharmacy, Heritage Hill Senior Community, Weatherly Area Community Pharmacy, Castle Grill, Secure Technologies Inc., Beacon Diner, Tom Gerhard and Sons Roofing, Carbon Foot and Ankle Centers, Quality Personal Care, Bert's Steakhouse and Restaurant, Giant Food Stores, Zimmerman's Dairy, Sverchek Agency Insurance Financial and Mortgages and Getz Transportation.