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Mohegan Sun Pocono, Plains Twp.

Time moves at the speed of life, and perhaps no one knows that better than drag-racing icon Joe Amato.

The Moosic resident will share the secrets to his longevity in career and wellness as the keynote speaker for the inaugural Better Living Showcase on Sunday, Oct. 21. The health and wellness fair runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Mohegan Sun Pocono, Plains Twp., and will feature about 100 vendors sharing products and services that aim to enhance the “golden years” of living.

Presented by Times-Shamrock Communications (which owns The Times-Tribune), the showcase also features guest appearances by newspaper writers Gia Mazur, who shares her tips on beauty and self-care on the blog “Hey, Beautiful” and Chris Kelly, the columnist who will speak about keeping one’s mind sharp. John Madden from TravelWorld and television host Sam Lesante also will speak at the event about traveling and staying connected to the community, respectively.

During a recent phone interview during his vacation on the Amalfi Coast in Italy, Amato spoke about why he hopes his “unique rags-to-riches life story” will convince those in attendance at the free event to pay more attention to their health and well-being.

“I’m just a common guy, and I love the people here, the community that is around. It’s important to remember your roots,” Amato said. “I’m so glad to give back a little and make things better for everybody that’s there. I feel like if 10 people are willing to change their lifestyles and go get a test or pay attention to their health, if we can convert some people like that, it’s going to be worthwhile.”

His own dedication to maintaining fitness and endurance grew from watching his parents suffer from myriad health problems, many related to their smoking habits. Amato never made it to college, and in fact didn’t finish high school because he was forced to take over his father’s business at 16 after poor health took its toll. From there, he became “very street smart,” he said, and forged a successful racing career checkered with championships and record-breaking speeds, while also building his own automotive business that had about 1,100 employees. All along the way, he kept his health on track, too.

“I’ve always been a four-tracker person with a lot of energy and ready to go. I’m 74 years old and still relatively healthy,” Amato said. “I’m pretty aggressive in maintaining my health and getting things checked. You only get one body, and you’re responsible for it. It’s important to do the right things in life and pay attention.”

An autograph session will follow Amato’s presentation and question-and-answer period, he added.

With representatives from a variety of area businesses, from wealth management to independent-living facilities, food markets, health care providers and other wellness ventures, Better Living Showcase highlights the best of what Northeast Pennsylvania offers to retirees, the senior population and their families.

“One of the great things about our community is it’s a great place to settle down, have a family, retire and get older because of all the resources around here, from the health care facilities to the doctors,” said Tim Calpin, director of marketing for Times-Shamrock Communications and an event organizer.

“It’s a great environment for people who love the outdoors; you can buy a house here for a reasonable price,” Calpin continued. “What we wanted to do was provide something for the community that would connect them with all those resources. So if you’re planning for retirement or have a parent close to retirement age, you can take one day and do weeks and weeks of planning in one afternoon.”

The showcase ends with a performance by Neil Diamond tribute band Real Diamond, which will entertain the crowd with the crooner’s greatest hits to send them home happy. It’s the perfect cap to a day of varied interests and helpful information, Calpin noted.

“Guests can book a dream vacation, address arthritis, have good food, talk to someone about a yoga class and listen to Neil Diamond tunes,” he said. “It’s going to be a good time.”

 

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