The 2014 Jackson County Senior Expo, held at the Scottsboro-Goose Pond Civic Center on Thursday, was a rousing success.
The Jackson County AARP and Cloverdale Manor sponsored this year’s expo that was attended by over 1,000 people and included 75 booths from area businesses, civic organizations and churches.
Visitors were treated to a number of free gifts and information about services available to senior citizens of Jackson County.
The event is the idea of Libby Franklin, local AARP representative who created the expo after her parents were in need of respite care many years ago.
“This year’s expo has been very successful,” she said. “I’m so proud of the turnout. There is a lot of information out there and this is a great way for our area seniors to find out what is available to them.”
The Northeast Alabama Community College (NACC) Ensemble Band directed by Dr. Dan Knox, of NACC, entertained the crowd.
Among the presenting businesses was Highlands Medical Center.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for us to get out and interact with our seniors,” said Highlands marketing representative, Chelsea Bryant. “They do so much for the community and we really enjoy giving back to them.”
Visitors mingled with one another and had the chance to catch up with friends old and new.
“My grandchildren tease me and say that I know everybody in town,” joked Wilma Shortt, of Scottsboro. “As it turns out, I do.”
Her friend, Ann Gant, had good things to say about this year’s expo.
“I think it is wonderful,” she said. “I’ve had a great time.”
Director Mike Ashburn who was assisted by deputy director, Felix Jackson, represented the Jackson County Emergency Medical Agency (EMA).
“We have been signing people up for our Code Red program all morning,” Ashburn said. “It is a special free weather alert system paid for by the Jackson County Commission. “We’ve had good response and people seem very receptive.”
Andy Sanders, of Scottsboro, a first time visitor to the expo, enjoyed more than the information and free gifts.
“I love the music,” he said enthusiastically. “I’ve gotten a lot of good information that I will definitely read later, but so far, the music has been wonderful.”
Crowds lined up for the free lunch of hot dogs, chips, drinks, donuts and snack cakes before sitting down to visit with friends.
Ruby Summers, of Guntersville, attended the expo with friends.
“I am planning to move to Scottsboro very soon,” she said, “so this is a great way for me to find out what is out there for me. I’ve been to the expo two times and I always enjoy it.”
Sponsor Cloverdale Manor provided a $500 door prize.
“I’m very surprised at the turnout,” said Amanda Putnam, Cloverdale representative. “This is the first expo I’ve attended. It’s been lots of fun.”
Rev. Dustin Henshaw, of Edgefield Baptist Church agreed.
“I’ve gotten to see a lot of people today,” he said. “In my opinion, this is by far the best expo I’ve ever been to.”
Huntsville AARP representative, Dr. Johnny McAlpine is the former president of Snead State Community College.
“This expo is far bigger and much nicer than I imagined,” he said. “I’ve really enjoyed meeting all of the nice people.”
Bill Guffey, of Scottsboro, made sure to find his friend, Libby Franklin, who was recently featured on the front cover of Zest magazine.
“I asked for her autograph,” he joked. “She’s famous now, so that might be worth something some day.”
Franklin, exhausted from the hard work of putting together the successful event, signed the autograph with a good-natured laugh.
“I want to thank everyone for coming out to this year’s expo,” she said. “I think it was wonderful.”