By Christy Porter, Managing Editor
The Delta Regional Authority (DRA) and the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) hosted a South Central Missouri Wellness Mission Thursday, June 30, through Friday, July 8.
The Wellness Mission fulfilled two purposes: the Innovative Readiness Training (IRT) program, a DoD military training opportunity, provided joint training opportunities to increase deployment readiness for military personnel; and those same military personnel provided free basic medical, dental and vision services on a first come, first serve basis to three area communities, Houston, Ava and Eminence, who are within the DRA Mississippi Delta region, without private sector competition.
“We have seen year after year that Innovative Readiness Training medical missions bring life changing care to our communities,” said Delta Regional Authority Federal Co-Chairman Dr. Corey Wiggins.
Participants within the Houston area, including Licking, were exceptionally pleased with the services offered and equally impressed with the military staff providing them.
“Team missions are new to this area, but it’s a great opportunity to be involved at a national level and bringing the mission to the community,” Capt. Eric Grider said.
Advantage was taken of the basic medical and wellness exams, sports physicals and nutrition guidance by physicians; dental assistance with fillings and extractions performed by dentists; and vision exams by optometrists, with basic prescriptions provided on sight at no charge or eyeglass prescriptions completed for the more complex.
“It’s great when we can detect medical problems and suggest preventative measures,” shared Sgt. Scott Sanders.
There were also pharmacists and an on-site basic pharmacy available per medical staff’s recommendations.
While the doctors, dentists and assistants worked in cooperation, advisement was provided when one clinic area needed the assistance of another clinic area. When necessary, recommendations were given for further medical care with referrals to community resources.
Reserve military personnel arrived in their training roles, complete with equipment, supplies, food and basic necessity needs, and proceeded to set up a field hospital for basic care. Their outside civilian careers may not match the military job they perform. There is a three day maximum for set up but it is generally accomplished within 24-hours. The program offers hands-on training for mission readiness, leadership opportunities, and public service and job satisfaction for the personnel involved.
It proved to be nine long days, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., excluding the Independence Holiday, for the 140 military personnel, who remained professional in their specialty, courteous and caring throughout. U.S. Army Reserve and military personnel from several military branches worked in shifts to continue assistance to participants, who were indeed grateful for the care.
Photos by Christy Porter