Townsend Leather holds wellness fair

Megan Kucel of Townsend Leather and Chealsea Karpoy of Healthlink Littauer with handmade teddy bears made from towels at Townsend Leather's annual Wellness Fair on Friday. The teddy bears will be donated to the Fulton County Ambulance Service to comfort children in traumatic situations. (The Leader-Herald/Josh Bovee )

JOHNSTOWN — After her five-year-old daughter suffered through a traumatic incident which required two ambulance rides with “nothing to comfort” her along the way, Megan Kucel, marketing coordinator and graphic designer at Townsend Leather, decided to do something to make those stressful rides a little more tolerable for other children.

With the help of Healthlink Littauer, Kucel organized a handmade teddy bear station at Townsend Leather’s annual Wellness Fair on Friday. Made from colorful hand towels intricately folded to resemble a bear, each one is tied with a bow and adorned with a heart-shaped piece of Townsend leather. Townsend employees pitched in on Friday to make 160 teddy bears which were donated to the Fulton County Ambulance Service to comfort children on those traumatic rides.

“We thought the towel teddy bears would be a great way to give back to the community,” Kucel said.

Kucel’s teddy bear station was just one of the more than 30 vendors at Townsend’s third annual Wellness Fair on Friday. The fair, which is put on for the benefit of the nearly 200 Townsend “partners” who attend the festivities while on the clock, offered healthy food options, a volleyball tournament and various wellness vendors, including aromatherapy and a massage station, all aimed at reducing stress and promoting wellness.

“We are focusing on the theme of beating stress,” Tricia Martin, senior vice president of customer service said.

Townsend worker David Fisher and his fiance Jenea Sweet hang out with Pandora the Painted Cow at Townsend Leather's annual Wellness Fair on Friday. (The Leader-Herald/Josh Bovee)

Healthlink Littauer had multiple wellness stations set up, offering Townsend workers tips on healthy eating, exercise, and even helped register employees with a primary care physician.

“Pandora, the Painted Cow,” was available for hand painting and photo ops, while therapy pigs roamed the fair grounds, offering cuddles and snorts in exchange for apple slices set out on plates throughout the festival area.

Townsend “partner” Michael Nuzzo, relaxing near Townsend’s scenic pond, said his favorite of the vendors was the massage station.

Elsewhere, “partner” David Fisher, along with his fiancee Jenea Sweet, hung out with “Pandora, the Painted Cow.”

“[Townsend Leather] is absolutely the best place to work,” David Fisher said. “If we didn’t walk in and punch a clock we wouldn’t even know we were at work.”

Brittany LaFreniere of Cool Insuring Agency, poses with a therapy pig at Townsend Leather's annual Wellness Fair on Friday. (The Leader-Herald/Josh Bovee )

The Wellness Fair has continued to grow over the past three years, and with that continued growth, the Townsend Wellness Fair organizers hope to open the festivities up to the community in conjunction with the company’s 50th anniversary next year.

“If all goes according to plan, we hope next year for our 50th, to do a community wellness event combined with the wellness celebration and make it a block party,” Martin said. “We want to invite the community itself in to meet all the vendors and services. That’s our dream.”

Townsend employees participate in a volleyball tournament while others watch at Townsend Leather's annual Wellness Fair on Friday. (The Leader-Herald/Josh Bovee )

From left, Towwnsend workers Ernie Bentley, Melissa Filkins, Madison Pitcavage, Michael Nuzzo, and Michael Szurek relax near the pond at Townsend Leather's Wellness Fair on Friday. (The Leader-Herald/Josh Bovee )

Handmade teddy bears made from towels at Townsend Leather's annual Wellness Fair on Friday. The teddy bears will be donated to the Fulton County Ambulance Service to comfort children in traumatic situations. (The Leader-Herald/Josh Bovee )

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