NORTH ROYALTON – Fred Cremz is a devoted grandfather and a lifesaver. He’d give blood, sweat and tears for others.

Cremz reported for duty at the fifth annual Health and Wellness Community Expo Nov. 1 to give a pint of blood at the American Red Cross blood drive set up in the gym. By doing so, he was not only saving lives but also helping his granddaughter’s school earn points as part of this special Pint Size Heroes drive.

“I’m here for my granddaughter,” he smiled, as he finished up.

“All right, you’re all done,” said Laura Davis, a collection tech for the Red Cross.

“I’m just a bum,” Cremz joked after Davis said her official title.

“With good blood,” Davis smiled.

Cremz’s blood type, AB+, is a type the Red Cross loves to see donated. AB is the rarest blood type but is a universal donor when it comes to plasma.

Cremz does his part to give fairly regularly.

“I gave it once, and then just kept on doing it,” he said.

The blood drive was just one component of the expo, hosted Nov. 1 at North Royalton High School.

Sponsored by the city of North Royalton, the North Royalton School District and Sports Rehab Consultants, close to 75 health and wellness vendors were on hand to provide the community with a one-stop shop of information and advice on ways to attain a healthier lifestyle. Residents could not only give blood, but they could have their glucose and blood pressure tested; get vaccinated against the flu and pneumonia; and visit with chiropractors, dentists, fitness experts, nutritionists, massage therapists and beauty experts.

While Cremz gave blood, his granddaughter Samantha, 7, and her mom, Michelle Hastings, enjoyed a stack of pancakes and some sausage complements of the chef, Mayor Bob Stefanik.

Residents were treated to a home-cooked meal by Stefanik and members of city council – Council President Larry Antoskiewicz, Ward 1 Councilman John Nickell, Ward 3 Councilman Dan Langshaw and Ward 4 Councilman Paul Marnecheck.

The mayor’s annual pancake breakfast is typically hosted in conjunction with the expo.

It’s great so that not only the expo guests can enjoy a nice meal on the house as they peruse the booths, but for runners of the 5K Bear Run and participants of the Turkey Trot, which collects food for the North Royalton Food Bank. These athletes can fuel up before and after these physically taxing events, which were both hosted outside prior to the expo.

As always, council and the mayor were dishing out more than just pancakes and sausage in the kitchen.

“Larry attributes his pristine health to farm fresh sausage and pancakes,” Marnecheck smiled, jokingly pitching the mayor’s breakfast.

Just then another hungry customer walked in looking for grub.

The councilmen quickly snapped into formation and served up the plate with precision on the cook line.

“Orange juice or apple juice?” Langshaw asked.

The resident took apple juice, thanked his gracious servers and was on his merry way.

“A reporter’s here with a camera, so now they’re going to act like they’re busy working,” Stefanik teased council.

So how did they do?

Well, Samantha and Michelle seemed to “yay” the feast, especially after participating in the Trot.

“It’s good. We came to the expo last year too. She loves doing this kind of stuff,” Michelle said looking over at Samantha. “Anything school related. We did the Turkey Trot. We brought up three cans of soup, and made four laps … a mile. We enjoy it.”

Across the hallway, Ann Angers of Parma Heights seized the opportunity to be pampered and enjoy a little R and R. She was putty in Nomi Brady’s hands during her first ever massage, a chair massage. Brady works for Crooked River Massage Therapy Center.

“This is my first one ever,” Angers said through the doughnut-shaped head rest. “This is very relaxing.”

There was no relaxing for Colin Joyce, 11. He was learning firsthand about the dangers of distracted driving. Colin tried his hand at the simulated distracted driving booth. He was driving along minding his own business, and doing rather well, when all of the sudden his girlfriend, in the simulator, asked him to call her brother.

In true North Royalton fashion, the minute he began dialing, two deer bolted out in front of him. A collision was unavoidable.

“Oh man,” Colin said, throwing up his hands.

Lesson learned.

“It’s very easy to crash into a deer when your girlfriend asks you to call her brother,” he said, shaking his head.

A booth over was Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Deputy Nick Riegelmayer with K-9 Officer Jax, a Czech Shepherd/Belgian Malinois mix from Slovakia.

Jax is trained to find narcotics, track suspects, search buildings, search for lost articles and protect his partner. When he’s off duty, he loves to play ball and socialize with people.

Riegelmayer wooed the crowd with a demo of Jax’s scent detection skills.

The pair trained together for 40 hours a week for seven weeks when they first partnered up. The ongoing training is extensive too. They train anywhere from three to 16 hours a month.

Carol Double, a North Royalton resident, came up and asked if she could pet Jax.

“How long has he been on the force?”

“Close to six years,” Riegelmayer said.

Double and her boyfriend, Bob Schodowski. attended the event to try and gather some information, take advantage of the free screenings and just enjoy the day.

“We’re getting old,” Double joked.

“We both had our blood pressure checked, she had her glucose checked. It’s a good event,” Schodowski said.

A few feet away Ronald McDonald was catching up with his good friend Tom Bruene of North Royalton.

“My wife dragged me down here,” Bruene joked.

“Don’t put that, that’s off the record,” McDonald smiled.

“We come every year,” Bruene said.

“He comes here to see me. He’s a Ronald groupie. He’s my No. 1 fan,” McDonald added.

So what does Mr. McDonald plan on grabbing for lunch after the expo?

“A happy meal, of course. That will make me happier than I already am,” he grinned.

The cold, wet weather dampened the turnout a bit, but it couldn’t dampen the fun.

Antoskiewicz said overall the expo was another success.

“We’re always happy to have the breakfast. We look forward to doing that. We had a lot of good variety of health care professionals and vendors here too and a lot of those being local. It’s good to see their participation in this event and them passing on such great information to our residents.”

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