Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

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April 3, 2013

Local football hero to open FitCOUNTY event

JACKSONVILLE — Jacksonville native and NFL quarterback Luke McCown will help launch the inaugural FitCOUNTY Cherokee “Day in the Park” event, slated from 9 a.m.-noon Saturday at the Jacksonville Athletic Complex.

The free event, at 1923 Byrd Road, features vendor booths manned by H.O.P.E., the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Office, the Cherokee County Master Gardeners, Super Gallo Market, Cherokee County Public Health, the East Texas Food Coalition, East Texas Medical Center, and Trinity Mother Frances Hospitals and Clinics, among others.

In addition, the Cherokee County Medical Society will distribute free bicycle helmets, while the Jacksonville Fire Department will promote water safety by distributing free life preservers. And Cherokee County Extension Agent Kim Benton will provide demonstrations of container gardening.

“We've had a number of new vendors come aboard since last month, all focused on family health, wellness and safety,” said Public Health Executive Director Chris Taylor. “For a first-year event, it's looking very promising. I'm impressed by how Day in the Park is shaping up, and I'm quite excited about it.”

Having a professional athlete like McCown – who, on Monday, signed a one-year contract as back-up quarterback for the New Orleans Saints – throw his support behind the local health initiative just adds to the excitement.

And, Taylor admitted, “it's humbling.”

“Here is someone who lives in Jacksonville and Cherokee County who is willing to give his time to a cause that promotes health and wellness, and we're excited to have him on board,” he said. “What a great way to use your name to promote healthier lifestyles among the people you've grown up with.”

McCown and his wife Katy are the parents of five children. During the off-season, the family resides in Jacksonville, where they are members of First Baptist Church.

The FitCOUNTY Cherokee initiative launched last September as a means to “empower and encourage healthy lifestyles one person at a time” through exercise, education and healthy eating.

To learn more, visit the website www.fitcherokee.com, or visit the FitCOUNTY Cherokee Facebook page.

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