Center of health: Gwinn site of community health event

Deb Rolig and her dog, Sami, spend time at the recent Gwinn Community Health Festival. Rolig is a member of the therapy dog organization SuperiorLand Pet Partners. (Journal photo by Christie Bleck)

GWINN — Staying healthy takes on many forms. So, seeing what turmeric looks like in non-powder form, petting a Bernese mountain dog and viewing words through a huge magnifier were some of the activities available to visitors at Wednesday’s Gwinn Community Health Festival at Peter Nordeen Park.

The Upper Great Lakes Family Health Center hosted the event in celebration of National Health Center Week.

At the event to greet the public was Sami, a therapy dog that’s part of the SuperiorLand Pet Partners program, which serves the Upper Peninsula.

Deb Rolig handles the “Maltipoo” — a cross between a Maltese and a poodle.

“I enjoy dogs and I enjoy people and to bring some joy,” Rolig said.

Sami certainly elicits that emotion from people as was evident by those who flocked to her at the festival.

“She brings a smile to people’s faces,” said Rolig, who noted that even if people interact with her for only a few minutes, it takes them away from the less-happy parts of life.

Pam Roose, a registered dietitian and a wellness consultant for the U.P. with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, displayed different healthy herbs and spices at her booth.

It was an interactive exhibit.

“They have to tell me what herb is what and then tell me a health benefit of it, and if not, then I’ll help them out,” Roose said.

Turmeric is beneficial for people with chronic conditions, she said, while rosemary is high in fiber and can help with digestion.

Ginger is a popular nausea aid, so making ginger tea would be a good remedy for someone with an upset stomach, Roose said.

Also at her exhibit was oregano, which she called an anti-bacterial and anti-fungal aid.

Carolyn Boyle, program director and Americans with Disabilities coordinator with the Superior Alliance for Independent Living, was on hand to provide information her group’s mission, which is to help individuals with disabilities and promote accessible U.P. communities for everyone.

“We do many things,” Boyle said.

For example, SAIL is involved with Work Incentives Planning and Assistance, a project that helps the Social Security Administration’s disability beneficiaries to understand and use work incentives to start or return to work.

SAIL also conducts Single Point for Activities and Recreation, an inclusive social and recreational program for people of all abilities. Activities may include arts and crafts, cross-country skiing, kayaking, ice skating, hiking and others.

Other organizations represented at the festival included the Great Lakes Recovery Centers, Marquette County Cares and the Care Clinic, as well as first responders.

The Upper Great Lakes Family Health Center is a private not-for-profit health center that operates service delivery locations serving Marquette, Houghton, Iron, Menominee and Ontonagon counties. Services — on site and through referral — include primary care, oral health care and behavioral health services, substance abuse counseling, enabling services, specialty care/services, education and comprehensive outreach.

The Gwinn Family Health Center is located at 135 E. M-35.

Christie Bleck can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250. Her email address is