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Retired admiral will be featured speaker at hospital benefit for nursing program

Retired Adm. Eric T. Olson will be the featured speaker for the Morton Plant Mease Foundation Distinguished Speaker Series at 7 p.m. Thursday at Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. The event benefits the Dr. George Morris Earn As You Learn nursing education programs at the hospitals of Morton Plant Mease.

Olson's accomplishments read like the liner notes in an action-adventure novel. He served in special operations units throughout his 38-year career and earned several awards for leadership and valor, including the Defense Distinguished Service Medal and the Silver Star.

He was the first Navy SEAL officer to be promoted to three- and four-star ranks. And as head of the U.S. Special Operations Command at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, he was responsible for the mission readiness of all Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps special operations forces.

When he retired in 2011, he held the honorary title "Bull Frog," in recognition of his being the longest-serving SEAL on active duty.

Olson, a native of Tacoma, Wash., is president of ETO Group LLC and works as an independent national security consultant. He also is an adjunct professor in the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University; a director of Iridium Communications Inc. and Under Armour Inc.; a director of the nonprofit Special Operations Warrior Foundation and the National Navy UDT-SEAL Museum; and a senior advisor to the Department of Homeland Security and NATO Special Operations Forces headquarters.

The Dr. George Morris Earn As You Learn nursing education programs were established by Morton Plant Mease to attract and retain quality nurses. They provide a stipend for nursing students to relieve pressure on nursing students who must work full time, attend school and provide for their families.

Over the past decade, 210 registered nurses, 170 licensed practical nurses, 378 patient care technicians and 11 master's-prepared clinical nurse leaders have successfully completed the program, thanks to community support.

Tickets are $150 per person ($70 of which is tax deductible). A special reception will be 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. featuring cocktails and heavy hors d'oeuvres. The program follows at 7 p.m.

For more information and to purchase tickets, call the Morton Plant Mease Foundation at (727) 462-7036 or visit

• • •

Have a child competing in high school sports?

Morton Plant Mease's sports medicine program will offer free sports physicals to Pinellas County high school student athletes from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday at Morton Plant Hospital's Ptak Orthopaedic & Neuroscience Pavilion, Barrett Outpatient Rehabilitation and Sports Medicine Center, 430 Morton Plant St., Suite 101, Clearwater.

Free sports physicals will also be available from 8 a.m. to noon May 4 in the gymnasium at Palm Harbor University High, 1900 Omaha St. in Palm Harbor.

All student athletes are required by the Florida High School Athletic Association to complete a physical evaluation before participating in high school sporting activities.

The exams include checks of height, weight, blood pressure, vision, lungs and the musculoskeletal system and are done on a first-come, first-served basis. Students found to have medical conditions needing further treatment will be referred for follow-up at a later date.

The annual sports physicals are part of the athletic training outreach program, which is a partnership between Morton Plant Mease Health Care and the Pinellas County school system. Morton Plant Mease's sports medicine program also partners with Pinellas County schools to offer concussion screenings for student athletes at some schools as part of the ImPACT (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing) program.

Student athletes under the age of 18 must bring a parent or legal guardian, or registration forms must be pre-signed. Bring or wear eyeglasses or contact lenses, if you use them. The exams done by Morton Plant Mease are free, however, a small fee may be required by some schools to support their booster clubs.

Call (727) 462-7861.

• • •

Learn more about the symptoms of low testosterone levels, how it impacts the body and what treatment options are available at 2 p.m. Monday at the Aging Well Center, 1501 N Belcher Road, Clearwater. Free. Call (727) 953-6877 or visit

• • •

Learn about nutritious, delicious diabetic meal plans at 10 a.m. Wednesday at Mease Countryside Hospital, 3231 McMullen-Booth Road, Safety Harbor. Call (727) 725-6111.

• • •

Laughter Yoga is based on the fact that the body can't tell the difference between fake and real laughter. The practice combines laughter with yogic breathing (Pranayama) to reduce stress, improve health and foster a positive and hopeful attitude. Participate in the experience at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Dunedin Community Center, 1920 Pinehurst Road, Dunedin. Cost is $5 for members, $7 for nonmembers. Call (727) 733-7296.

• • •

Join orthopedic surgeon Dr. Duane Belongie to learn more about the common causes of joint pain and surgical options, including minimally invasive surgery for joint pain, at noon Wednesday at Countryside Recreation Center, 2640 Sabal Springs Drive, Clearwater. Call (727) 669-1914.

• • •

The Creative Movement Workshop presents the program "Diving In: An Introspective Look at Ourselves through Movement," at 1 p.m. Wednesday at the Aging Well Center, 1501 N Belcher Road, Clearwater. No dance experience is necessary. The program is free, but pre-registration is required. Call (727) 724-3070.

• • •

The Blue Ribbon Child Abuse Prevention 5K run and 1-mile family walk benefits the Parent Aide program that provides services to families at risk for child abuse and neglect. Start time is 7:30 a.m. Saturday at Walsingham Park, 12615 102nd Ave. N, Largo. Registration is $15-$20. Call (727) 543-0142 or visit

• • •

Join instructors and people around the world at World Tai Chi and Qi Gong Day at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Aging Well Center, 1501 N Belcher Road, Clearwater for a free teach-in and celebration of personal and global health. Call (727) 724-3070.

• • •

Help Hope Live 5K run and walk will take place at 7:30 p.m. Saturday along Ream Wilson Trail in Clearwater's Del Oro Park, 401 McMullen-Booth Road. It will include awards and a raffle following the race. All proceeds benefit the kidney transplant fund of Jon Graebner, a local Clearwater resident. Registration is $25. Call (727) 501-3390 or visit

Mail health news to Tampa Bay Times, 710 Court St., Clearwater, FL 33756; fax to (727) 441-4119; or email

Retired admiral will be featured speaker at hospital benefit for nursing program 04/20/13 [Last modified: Friday, April 19, 2013 4:38pm]
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