Nanticoke health fair scores with screenings, Redskin fans

LAUREL – All things considered, Nanticoke Health Services tallied a touchdown in its third annual community health fair.

Hundreds of people huddled with vendors, free health screenings baited with incentive drew many takers and Redskin Nation garnered the celebrity spotlight Saturday at the Heart of Good Health; A Healthy Community Event at Laurel Senior High School.

For about 90 minutes, Redskins’ star wide receiver Pierre Garcon, holder of Washington’s all-time single-season reception record, autographed footballs, hats, jerseys, albums, photographs, cards and other memorabilia items following the four-hour health fair.

Added incentive to participate in upward of 10 free health screenings paid off for Georgetown resident Steve Knowles – the lucky raffle winner of a framed No. 46 jersey signed by Redskins’ running back Alfred Morris. For each screening, a person earned one raffle chance.

Overall, organizers estimate attendance at the health fair was down a bit.

“And I think that was mainly due to the weather. It’s very cold and people don’t like to travel, especially the older people,” said Rachel Ostroski, Event Coordinator from Nanticoke Health Services’ marketing department. “But considering things I think it was still a really great turnout – between both the health fair portion and the autograph signing.”

“Our numbers were up for screenings, which was great. And that could in large part be due to the raffle that we had,” said Ms. Ostroski. “And we had great vendor turnout this year.”

Major sponsors of the health event were AARP, Bank of Delmarva, Walgreen’s and the Nanticoke Medical Staff.

First in line at the Garcon autograph session: Laurel resident Michael Insley, who calls himself a “forever” Redskin fan.

“I grew up liking them, ever since junior high school,” said Mr. Insley. He stood in line from 8:30 a.m. until the 1 p.m. session.

Mr. Insley, who works for Auto Works body shop in Dagsboro, brought a football previously signed by such notable Redskins as Alfred Morris, DeAngelo Hall and Robert Griffin III, also known as RG3.

“I went to training camp back in August like two days after I had knee surgery. I was able to get a couple players’ autographs, thanks to my sister and my nephew,” said Mr. Insley.

And now his pigskin keepsake sports the signature of Pierre Garcon, whom Mr. Insley pegs as a vital cog that must stay in a Redskin uniform.

“I hope that they keep him because it would be kind of crazy for the Redskins to get rid of him. There’s a dual threat with him and DeSean Jackson,” said Mr. Insley. “I sure hope they keep him.”

Besides autographs, Mr. Garcon graciously honored photo requests, with a radiant smile.

“I enjoy seeing people smile and making people smile. I met my first NFL player at a similar event like this; we didn’t live in an NFL city,” said Mr. Garcon. “I’m glad I got the invitation to come out here, especially with the support and this being such a far place from where we play at. It was definitely amazing to see the support and the fans coming out. It was definitely a great thing for the community, a great thing for our team – the Redskins – and for myself. I appreciate it.”

Mr. Garcon even held little babies for Kodak moments.

One such toddler was 2-year-old Ryan Sterling, who was in the arms of former Redskins’ running back Clinton Portis at Nanticoke’s first health fair in 2013.

“Ryan was like one month old when Clinton held him,” said mother Sue Dodd, a Philadelphia fan at heart. “I like the Eagles, but I follow the Redskins, too. I like them because they’ve got good people, like this one, who will come out and meet people. They’ve always treated us right.”

News Editor Glenn Rolfe can be reached at grolfe@newszap.com

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