Health fair keeps growing

By Eric Norwood Jr.

PNT staff writer

enorwood@pntonline.com

Residents flocked to Roosevelt General Hospital Saturday morning to get flu shots, child immunizations, blood screenings, and other services at its health fair.

A hospital spokesperson said the third annual event was expected to bring record numbers of participants.

Eric Norwood Jr..: Portales News-Tribune Clovis Community College nursing student Krystal Gonzales gives her instructor, Gayle Richerson, a flu shot Saturday at the Roosevelt General Hospital Health Fair. Gonzales volunteered to be at the Health Fair and her nursing instructor showed up to get a flu shot.

Eric Norwood Jr..: Portales News-Tribune
Clovis Community College nursing student Krystal Gonzales gives her instructor, Gayle Richerson, a flu shot Saturday at the Roosevelt General Hospital Health Fair. Gonzales volunteered to be at the Health Fair and her nursing instructor showed up to get a flu shot.

“Our first year, we maybe had 75 people show up, including volunteers,” said hospital Public Relations Director Amber Hamiltion. “Last year we had 500. This year, we are anticipating every bit of 750 to 1,000. This turnout has been fantastic.”

There were lots of freebies available, including bike helmets and kneepads for children, courtesy of the Portales Fire Department. The Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Office also teamed up with the RGH Trauma Team to hold a Car Seat Clinic, and free car seats were passed out.

TriState CareFlight had two helicopters on site, and held a drawing for a free aerial tour of Portales.

The blood screening panel was a popular service among patients, and many took advantage of the expensive service for such a low price. According to hospital officials, a blood screening panel is a $1,200 value that was being offered for only $35.

Barb Dennis was at the Health Fair with her granddaughters to get her blood results.

“I came to get my blood results and some helmets for the girls,” said Dennis, as her granddaughters joined her after some fun in the bounce house.

Eastern New Mexico University graduate student Raelene Keesliha, 25 was there for blood screening as well as a free flu shot.

“I like coming to health fairs because you never know what you will find out about yourself. I’ve never had a blood screen before. I also tested my lung capacity and got a flu shot,” said Keesliha.

Other services offered included free stroke assessments, lung disease screenings, diabetes screenings, and vision tests. The pharmacy department also offered free medication consultations with a pharmacist.

The flu shot line was also full, as 250 free flu shots were given to adults. Krystal Gonzales, a nursing student at Clovis Community College, volunteered her time to administer flu shots. She got a surprise visit from her instructor, Gayle Richerson, who played the role of patient.

“I wanted to come help out the people who may not be able to afford flu shots, so I signed up to volunteer,” said Gonzales.

Richerson wasn’t nervous at all that her student gave her a shot.

“They do an excellent job,” said Richerson.

The early 8 a.m. start time didn’t deter residents from showing up. The large number of patients had Hamilton optimistic about helping residents.

“We wanted to give back to our community because we are owned by taxpayers. We want to empower residents to take charge of their own health, and all of these free great services give an avenue for that.”

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