Nanticoke’s community health kick has quite a catch: Redskins’ Pierre Garcon

LAUREL – While the Washington Redskins are not on parade basking in super stardom as reigning Super Bowl champions, there is a Redskins’ parade from the nation’s capital to Laurel and Sussex County.

And it has a health kick.

Washington Redskins' star receiver Pierre Garcon will make a special appearance at a free autograph session Saturday, Feb. 21 in conjunction with Nanticoke Health Services' community health event at Laurel High School.

Redskins’ star wide receiver Pierre Garcon on Saturday, Feb. 21 will make a special appearance at an autograph signing session following Nanticoke Health Services “The Heart of Good Health” community health event.

The health event, which runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Laurel High School, features a number of free screenings: ABI, peripheral artery disease/PAD, blood pressure, balance testing, body mechanics, grip strength, skin damage, vision and pediatric blood pressures and body mass index (BMI).

Also, there are free cholesterol and diabetes screenings, which do require fasting.

Mr. Garcon, who set Washington’s all-time single-season reception record with 113 catches in 2013, will sign autographs from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

This is Nanticoke’s third community health fair in Laurel, borne from efforts of Nanticoke Health Services and Dr. Joseph Kim in particular to spur community outreach in the Laurel area.

“It’s about exposure; getting people to come in, get exposed to all of the services, and not just from the hospital but the community itself,” said Dr. Kim, who has a family practice in the Nanticoke Health Pavilion Laurel, which now houses Nanticoke’s recently christened Laurel Immediate Care. “It’s all about building our community. If we can build our community stronger, everyone benefits.”

Sharon Harrington, Nanticoke’s Director of Marketing and Business Development, said the community health fair brings to light physical, emotional and financial health.

Several vendors and service providers will be on hand at the fair, which Ms. Harrington said is a venue that educates people on services and funding available for certain tests. It also enables people who may not have a family doctor to connect with a physician, she said.

“A mission of the state now is prevention and to manage chronic diseases. That’s why having things like this are very important,” said Dr. Kim, noting screenings at the health fair are free to individuals and “it can save the health care system in Delaware considerably.”

“If we can find something and treat it, we can manage it,” said Dr. Kim. “And it’s not just diabetes. The big thing we are having problems with is obesity.”

The Nanticoke Medical Staff and Walgreens are event sponsors, and the Bank of Delmarva is on board with support as well.

Other attractions include the LifeNet helicopter and the Laurel Fire Department, which will have a truck and fire prevention information. Sparky the Fire Dog may also make an appearance.

There will be demonstrations, car seat checks and fingerprinting for kids.

Free screenings offer a chance at Redskin memorabilia. Every person who has a free screening will be entered in a raffle drawing for a Redskins’ jersey autographed by running back Alfred Morris.

Again in conjunction with the event, there are essay contests at the elementary, middle and high school levels in the Laurel School District.

“It gives them an opportunity to show why good health is important and why it is important to have good habits now,” said Ms. Harrington.

More than 1,000 people attended last year’s community health event, which featured Redskins’ quarterback Kirk Cousins.

Approximately 700 people attended the first event in 2013, which showcased Clinton Portis, one of the all-time great running backs in Redskins’ history.

Like the community health fair, there is no charge for the Pierre Garcon autograph session. Organizers do remind fans and autograph hounds that there is a one item limit per person.

Selected by the Indianapolis Colts in the sixth round of the 2008 NFL Draft, Mr. Garcon, now 28, signed a five-year $42.5 million contract with the Redskins as a free agent in March of 2012.

His 113 receptions in 2013 broke the previous Redskins’ mark of 106 set in 1984 by Art Monk, who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2008.

Mr. Garçon, whose family is from Haiti, founded the Pierre Garcon Helping Hands Foundation in June of 2010 – several months after the earthquake that devastated the poverty-stricken Caribbean country.

Mr. Garcon’s foundation works to attain sustainable aid and assistance programs along with developing shelter and establishing education.

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

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