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Funday magnifies the ‘well’ in wellness

The Franklin community relished the return of the Family Wellness Funday on July 17 at Armory Park after a year in which the COVID-19 pandemic prevented the annual event from taking place.

“A huge welcome on behalf of the City of Franklin to everybody who’s here,” Franklin Mayor Frank M. Rabil said near the beginning of the event. “Thank you to the Franklin-Southampton Wellness Coalition for putting this on again. I’m not sure how many years this has been going on, but it has become an institution within this city, and it is appreciated.”

He also thanked all the volunteers and their organizations that were represented at the event. Many booths were set up, including those representing organizations that are part of the wellness coalition.

Franklin City Manager Amanda C. Jarratt echoed the comments of welcome and thanks from Rabil and Celebration Church Franklin Pastor Anthony Rawlings Sr.

“I’m so happy we can be here,” she said. “It’s an amazing feeling to be able to go to events like this. I personally want to say ‘thank you’ to the members of the wellness coalition board. You guys have been a mainstay for the city throughout the whole last year and all that we’ve had to navigate with the pandemic. All of your agencies have allowed us to keep everyone as safe as possible, whether from a health perspective or financial safety net or all of the services that your agencies provide.”

Rabil concluded his remarks with encouragement to people regarding the COVID-19 vaccine.

“For those of you who’ve had your first COVID vaccination, I would ask you to consider very seriously getting your second, if you haven’t,” he said. “For those of you who haven’t had a COVID vaccination or the series of vaccinations, I would ask you to consider those available shots and get those. It’s not only good for the community at large, but it’s also good for the kids and for the people we’re coming in contact with.”

Those present at the 2021 Family Wellness Funday were presented with a variety of offerings, including a free swim in the pool, a petting zoo, the landing and presentation of the Sentara Nightingale helicopter, Zumba, line dancing, inflatables, face painting, raffles, vendors and food.

In addition to the overall event raffle, the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore also held its own raffle. Cliff Hedgespeth, Western Tidewater Branch manager of the Foodbank, announced the organization would be giving out $25 Food Lion gift cards all day long.