All Veterans Welcome at Wellness Fair

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Veterans are invited to participate in a free, no-obligation Wellness Fair at the American Legion Post 274, 899 Buttonwood Dr, Fort Myers Beach on January 16th from 9am-3pm.

Post Adjutant and Chairman of the Wellness Fair Committee Bob Penta has invited all veterans, noting that affiliation with a veteran’s organization is not required. He wants all local and visiting veterans to participate.

“Each participant has volunteered their time to evaluate any veteran or first responder that comes in,” he said. “The Fair is open to all Southwest Florida veterans and first responders regardless if they are a member of the American Legion or not.”
Jo Rothenberg of Estero Island Medical Care told us that she agreed to co-sponsor the first Wellness Fair three years ago after being asked by the American Legion to help veterans who cannot get to or have become discouraged by their experiences at the VA.

“We have over 20 organizations that are coming, and we are offering some services to spouses, too. Each vet will get a few minutes behind closed doors to discuss their issues and options with a medical provider.”

One of those providers is Alex Menkes, a Johns Hopkins trained P.A. who recently joined Dr. Stephen Scholle’s office in Key Estero Plaza.

“Being a veteran myself, I have first-hand knowledge of some of the difficulties our veterans have getting an appointment for even routine care,” he said. “I know what a pain in the butt it can be dealing with the bureaucracy, and I’m participating in this because our veterans don’t deserve that.”

While some vendors will be offering discounted follow up services to veterans, there is no expectation or pressure. Veterans can expect a screening, not a detailed exam. Medical personnel will be available to counsel and/or make recommendations or referrals if appropriate.

Co-hosted by the American Legion Post 274 and Estero Island Medical Care, the Wellness Fair will offer medical screening by Estero Island Medical Care, vision screening by Frantz EyeCare and hearing screening by Gulf Coast Audiology. Estero Island Medical Care will offer diabetic testing and Lee Memorial Health Systems will bring their Bloodmobile.

The VA Clinic, Cape Coral, will provide diabetes and smoking cessation counseling for any that request assistance. Walgreens will be providing flu shots.

Also in attendance will be the American Red Cross, the Mobile Veterans Center and the Florida Attorney General’s Office. Representatives of Life and Dental insurance groups will also be present, along with IslandFit Physical Therapy and many more.

The American Legion will be providing free donuts and bagels as well as a free lunch to all who participate.

No appointments are necessary. For further information or to volunteer to assist with the Wellness Fair, contact Bob Penta at 774-275-4060 or Mike Adcock at 239-463-6591.

Keri Hendry Weeg