By RICK NORTON
After adding a new cause to its community mission — health — 10 years ago, the 100 Black Men of Bradley County Inc. is entering into a second decade of promoting responsible lifestyle habits in …
After adding a new cause to its community mission — health — 10 years ago, the 100 Black Men of Bradley County Inc. is entering into a second decade of promoting responsible lifestyle habits in Cleveland.
It’s called the “Walk of Life,” an annual health fair scheduled Saturday, Oct. 21, at Bradley Square Mall from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
As they have done in recent years, two members of “The 100” are heading up the venture with the support of their fellow members and an estimated 35 to 40 vendors and event sponsors.
On tap for the occasion will be a variety of health-related screenings, door prizes and live entertainment by local musicians who are joining the longtime respected civic group in its ongoing quest for bettering lives through mentoring, education, scholarships, community involvement … and most recently, health.
Oscar Kelley, a 100 Black Men anchor member who also serves on the Bradley County Election Commission, and Jonathan Porter, president of “The 100,” agreed this year’s “Walk of Life” is gearing toward the same objectives: creating awareness among local residents of all races and persuasions of the need to take their health seriously.
“More than 10 years ago we expanded our mission with the start of the health fair,” Kelley said. “This was a way for us to be of service in addressing the health needs and concerns of individuals in our community.”
Porter, who shares Kelley’s enthusiasm for keeping the “Walk of Life” headed in a direction that best serves Cleveland and Bradley County residents, said not only will health screenings and information highlight the event, but a 43-inch Smart TV will be given away. To qualify requires only a $2 ticket donation.
“You don’t have to be present — at the time of the drawing — to win,” Porter said. “For ticket sales, ask any member of ‘The 100.’”
Tickets will also be sold onsite on the day, and at the site, of the health fair.
Kelley pointed to an event theme that he discussed last year in an interview with the Cleveland Daily Banner promoting the “Walk of Life.”
“It’s all about the person, and that person’s willingness to living a little by learning a little,” Kelley said. “And that means everyone, the entire public in our wonderful community.”
He added, “We invite everyone to come out — black or white or Hispanic or other, man or woman, boy or girl, and just anyone who wants a unique chance to find out a little about their health without visiting the doctor’s office.”
Types of booths, services and information to be offered include blood pressure testing, careers in health care, dental assistance, diabetes education, end-of-life care, fitness education, health education, health insurance options, HIV/AID screenings, hospice services, home-health services, massage therapy, nutrition, organ donor information, prescription drug programs, prostate education, senior services, weight management and voter registration.
The latter — voter registration and education — is a unique part of the health fair because it expands the event’s “total approach,” Kelley said. The fact that he has served on the Bradley County Election Commission for many years means voter registration is of personal interest to Kelley.
His is a perspective drawn on what is good for both the individual and country.
“We want people to guard their personal health, and we want these same people to guard the health of our nation,” Kelley stressed. “And one way to do the latter is to get involved, and to stay involved, in the operations of our government.”
Not only is the health fair providing plenty of free services, it’s also dishing up some free food for attendees. In keeping with the fair’s theme, it’ll be healthy food.
“And, we’re again bringing in entertainment,” he said. “What better way to enjoy some quality health talk than doing it with some quality music in the background?”
Porter pointed out it’s not too late for past, and new, vendors to board the health fair train. If their mission is health, or health-related, they’re invited to host a booth at the Saturday event.
And, sponsorships continue to be sold. Available levels, as in years past, include Gold Level, $750; Silver Level, $500; Bronze Level, $250; Booth Only, $45; and general donation.
Anyone interested in sponsoring the event or hosting a booth, or who wants to assist with the “Walk of Life” in any way, may contact Kelley at 423-413-8768 or Porter at 423-596-0740.
The pair again pointed to the importance of holding the health fair at the mall.
“What makes this site so appealing is it is convenient to most folks,” Kelley said. “I mean, who doesn’t know where the mall is? Plus, everything will be under one roof. It’s safe. It’s secure.”
Porter pointed out, “We could not be happier with the sense of partnership, and cooperation, that we get from the mall year after year.”
Like with any community event of this magnitude, “… It’s no small undertaking,” Kelley stressed. “It takes sponsors working in tandem with our organization to accomplish the goals of being of service to our community. Tax-deductible contributions allow us to provide this service at no cost to those who attend the health fair.”
Donations are used exclusively toward health fair costs; however, any leftovers will be transferred to “The 100’s” scholarship program, Kelley noted.
With the backing, and an “Amen” from Porter, Kelley closed his comments on the coming health fair using the same encouragement from last year.
“There’s a thousand reasons for people to attend Saturday’s health fair,” Kelley stressed. “But, as I said at this time last year, here’s the one I like to talk about most often: ‘You.’”
He added, "You are the reason that you, and your family, should attend. It’s about your health. And for the people who love you, that’s plenty of reason for ‘you’ to be there. It’s really just that simple.”
Kelley even used the same closer from 2016, “Need I say more?”
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