Hundreds turn out for Health and Safety Fair

HANCOCK – Hundreds of people packed Portage Health’s main campus Saturday for the fifth annual Health and Safety Fair, and the price was right: free.

“Last year was one of our record years, and it’s looking like this year is on target to exceed that,” said Angela Luskin, Portage Health community health coordinator, during the event. “… There’s lots of kids, too, which is great. We try to offer something for everyone.”

One of the major draws included a wide array of free health screenings, including total cholesterol, blood glucose, bone density, hearing, heart rate, pulse oximetry, pediatric breathing, spirometry, body fat percentage, waist-to-hip and vision.

“We came just to see where we’re at. So far they’re all lying to me,” joked Kirk Sadlier, of Pelkie, who attended the fair for the first time with his wife Helen. “… We don’t have health insurance, so I figured this is definitely worth something.”

“It’s a very good program,” added Helen, who, along with Kirk, donated blood while they were there through the U.P. Regional Blood Center.

More than 50 departments and businesses were on hand, offering information and freebies to people, and free lunch was provided in the adjacent cafeteria. Drawings were also held, with some prizes including an iPad mini, an adult mountain bike and a youth mountain bike.

Representatives from Down Wind Sports were on hand to professionally fit 100 free youth bike helmets, and a car seat clinic and kids’ fingerprinting were also offered. The Keweenaw County Sheriff’s office provided free gun locks, and emergency vehicles were on hand to tour.

Four presentations from health experts were new additions this year, with pediatrician Dr. Anas Jaber presenting on preventing childhood illnesses and accidents this summer, physical therapists Mark Kargela and Mallory Rojewski explaining how to control pain, personal trainer Amanda Altobelli teaching how to incorporate fitness into a busy lifestyle and health education nurse Kelly Aho describing Michigan’s new initiative to improve health.

“It’s a great program, I encourage it,” Aho said at the end of her presentation. “It takes two seconds to sign up and it’s really nice.”

For more information on that program, visit, and for more info on the 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday fair, visit