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Open wide and say “Ahhhhh”

450 people served at the Torrance Corps’ annual health fair.

by Julio Vasquez, Major –

Hundreds of people came to the Torrance Corps on Sept. 18, 2010, for its 18th Annual Health Fair, held in conjunction with the City of Torrance. In the past, the City provided its own health fair, but a few years ago city representatives approached the corps, asking to partner with the Army—their combined forces would reach twice as many families in the South Bay area.

“This community event has saved lives,” said Bill Sutherland, Torrance City Council member, Salvation Army Advisory Board member emeritus, and long-time Army supporter. He explained to Corps Officers Major Julio and Karen Vasquez that for one senior citizen, the free screening available at the health fair had revealed a life-threatening condition; the individual was referred to the emergency room, where he was quickly treated for a coronary blockage.

This year’s event began with City Council members Susan Rhillinger and Sutherland delivering a message from Torrance Mayor Frank Scotto, proclaiming this day an Official Health and Resource Day for the South Bay area. Mayor Pro Tem Pat Furey presented a proclamation with the City of Torrance seal.

The mission—healing the body
For people who have lost their jobs or benefits, the health fair provides the means to obtain needed medical screenings. One woman said, “I am grateful for this event. You bring doctors and nurses that give me medical care that I simply could not afford—this year I invited my neighbor because I knew that she has not seen a doctor in years.”

The corps fellowship hall was full of health care providers and vendors. Torrance Memorial Hospital, Little Company of Mary Hospital and Kaiser Permanente provided information along with BMI, hypertension, cholesterol and diabetes screenings. The Torrance Public Library enrolled new members and gave out free children’s books. The Family Christian Bookstore handed out discount coupons and promoted their healthy living books. Medical students from Cal State Northridge University offered carotid artery scan testing, using an ultrasound probe. Other booths represented assisted living facilities, referral organizations and health plan providers, the Kiwanis Club of Torrance, COSTCO, the KEEP SAFE Coalition, the Law Office of Hofer and Harris, and Green Hills Memorial Park.

In the courtyard, guests—while enjoying the barber shop quartet and the didgeridoo player—could have a therapeutic hand and back massage by cosmetology students from El Camino College, and a blood pressure screening by Gerber Ambulance EMTs—they were housed under the American Honda tent. At the Los Angeles County InfoVan, they could receive information about state and county health programs.

In the corps’ Education Building, individuals could obtain a skin diagnosis, pulmonary and lung screening, spinal assessment, podiatry exams, and head and neck assessment (Upper Cervical Health Center). At the “Ask the Pharmacist” kiosk, a team of specialists answered questions about prescriptions. Also present were representatives from the South Bay Family Health Care Center, the Torrance Adult Education program, The Salvation Army of San Pedro Sage House Adult Day Care and The Salvation Army of Torrance Adult Day Care centers.

Coordinating the event were The Salvation Army Adult Day Care Advisory Council, with chairwoman Pat Hoyle, in partnership with the City of Torrance Community Services Department. Sponsors included Always Right Home Care, Brookdale Senior Living, Continuity Care Home Nurse, Julius Sumner Miller Foundation, Kiwanis Club of Torrance, Law Office of Hofer and Harris, LLP, Providence Little Company of Mary Hospital, Silverado Senior Living and Torrance Memorial Medical Center.

Mission accomplished—85 volunteers assisted 450 individuals and administered over 1,200 screenings—The Salvation Army of Torrance helped provide free medical care to families—possibly saving lives in the South Bay community.


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