THOMSON, GA (WFXG) - Members of the military, from different parts of the U.S, are taking part in Innovative Readiness Training or IRT. Through this program - which is fueled by taxpayer dollars - service members provide free vision,dental and medical care to the community.
LaTasha Sims heard about the Augusta Care 2018 free medical clinic through someone who mentioned it at her job.
"I'm always worried about my health. I want to make sure everything is cleared up. Also, I want to know how my eye check is because I know I have problems with my eyes, I'm far-sighted. And also, just basically maintaining my health," she explained.
Health-conscious people like Sims filled the halls of the old Thomson Middle School building, but class is not in session.
"Medical service, I got checked. Plus my ears was impacted with wax, I didn't notice that and she was unable to see my eardrum," Sims said.
She is a college student with no insurance. She and her mom were able to receive services they would have normally paid out of pocket for.
"People are happy that we're here. I've heard a lot from folks saying it's amazing to have access to care that they've traditionally have not had. Positive attitudes from my staff here to see the joy and the help we're giving people from the local communities," said Maj. Adam Hohman, who manages the IRT mission.
Volunteers say they are happy to help. Not only does it bring much needed medical services to people in the community, it prepares servicemembers to work in atypical environments and even undeveloped countries.
"Just seeing the dental staff being able to extract teeth, perform cavities, and just close counter, making sure our patients are receiving the proper care. The fact that we've been able to provide glasses right on site, within a couple of days. It's been awesome," said MSgt Rachel Spidell, who also manages the IRT mission.
Five clinics in the area will provide medical services to people ages 2 and up who are uninsured, underinsured or in need of quality healthcare. They are located in Thomson (511 Main Street), Warren County High School, Jenkins County Elementary School, Taliaferro County School and the Pope Center in Washington, Georgia. They will be open in the area from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. (weekend hours may differ) until July 18th.
In order to qualify for IRT assistance, a member of the community must apply. Qualification is based on healthcare disparities in that area.