Preston boards the bus

Friday, April 25, 2014

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Health Mart Healthy Living Tour rolled up to Preston Pharmacy and Home Medical in March for a busy afternoon offering free health screenings.

“We were giving back to the community,” said Tim Stiles, co-owner of Preston Pharmacy. “Screenings like this are needed today.”

The Healthy Living Tour was launched in 2009 by the Health Mart independent pharmacy network. The tour helps raise awareness about certain illnesses and the importance of community pharmacists. 

Attendees get screened for several of the most common health issues, including high blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol and obesity, says Zach Nixon, project coordinator for the tour.

“A lot of times, these are people who don’t have access to health care or a primary care physician,” he said. “We also get people who are just interested in checking out their numbers.”

Pharmacies have to apply to be a stop on the tour. They are chosen based on area need, as well as their activity in the community, says Nixon.

“Every year we visit more stores,” he said. “There’s talk of having more than one vehicle on the next tour so we can serve more people.”

The family-owned Preston Pharmacy has been in business since 1954. The Stiles family purchased it in 1974. The tour is another way to keep the pharmacy in front of the community.

“People don’t realize just how important a pharmacist can be, talking about medications, lifestyle and different things,” said Stiles. “We’ve already signed up to do it again.”