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Hundreds of vets get free testing during health fair

November 11, 2012
By MARK LAW - Staff writer ( , The Herald-Star

STEUBENVILLE - Ed Mascio, Jefferson County Veterans Services Commission service officer, knows the benefits of the annual Veterans Health Fair held Saturday at Steubenville High School.

He said six cases of advanced oral cancer were detected during a health fair in the late 1990s. Five of the six veterans are still alive today thanks to the detection and treatment.

More than 400 veterans took advantage Saturday of screenings for oral cancer, vision, blood sugar and blood-pressure testing and flu shots.

Article Photos

Mark Law
GETTING CHECKED — Sonny Solomon of Steubenville gets his blood pressure checked Saturday by Sharon McConnell of the Veterans Administration Healthcare System in Pittsburgh during the 19th annual Veterans Health Fair in the commons area of Steubenville High School. More than 400 area veterans were able to get screenings for oral cancer, vision, dental, blood sugar and blood-pressure testing and flu shots, in addition to being provided information on other services available to veterans.

"The health fair is beneficial because early detection leads to a cure," Mascio said.

"All the veterans believe it is a good thing. They are all appreciative of the Veterans Administration staff coming and providing the free health screenings," Mascio said.

Veterans also were able to learn about the services available in the region, including the Ohio Veterans Homes.

Sonny Solomon of Steubenville, an Army veteran, said he regularly takes advantage of the Veterans Health Fair.

"It is pretty convenient and informative and its free. Plus, you might get a free cup of coffee," Solomon said, who served three years of active duty and three years in the reserves in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

John Vasich of Mingo Junction, said he thinks the Veterans Health Fair is great, and is a supplement to checkups he gets from his family doctor. He said he comes every year to get a flu shot.

"The best thing is that it is free," he said.

Craig Spinner of Mingo Junction, an Air Force veteran who served from 1975 to 1981, said he believes the health fair is an excellent service to veterans.

Spinner relocated back to the area about two years ago. He said the Veterans Administration Hospital in Pittsburgh is the top-rated veterans hospital in the country. He said he has gone to the facility for services.

The health fair gives him a chance to get a checkup and also spend time with other veterans.

"It gives me a chance to reconnect with fellow veterans who have served their country. I really respect all veterans, regardless of where and when they served," he said.

Veterans eligible for Veterans Administration health care were given information on enrolling in the health care system and have their photo taken for a VA identification card, officials said.

The event was sponsored by the Veterans Administration Healthcare System in Pittsburgh, in partnership with the Jefferson County Veterans Service Commission and the Steubenville City School District.

Professionals were available to provide information about the VA benefits, prescription program and the My HealtheVet, the VA's personal health record, as well as nutrition, women's health and the Ohio Veterans Bonus Program.

The local veterans health fair has been in operation since 1994, and more than 8,560 veterans have taken advantage of the free health screenings, according to the Jefferson County Veterans Service Commission.

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