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Airmen, Sailors provide no-cost medical services in east central Georgia

Airmen, Sailors provide no-cost medical services in East Central Georgia

U.S. Navy Reserve Lt. Cmdr. Maria Julia Montanez, Doctor of Medical Dentistry, performs an examination on a patient at the clinic in Warrenton, Ga., July 11, 2018, during the first day of the East Central Georgia Innovative Readiness Training mission. An IRT is a collaborative program that leverages military contributions and community resources to multiply value and cost savings for participants by providing basic services such as medical, dental and optometry. (U.S. Air Force photo by Maj. John T. Stamm)

WARRENTON, Ga. -- Clinics opened at 8 a.m. and served nearly 300 residents by 4 p.m., with the Warrenton team treating 53 citizens by noon and the Washington clinic having to direct patients to other sites because of the large turnout.

“Participation has been tremendous,” said Capt. John Polos, Warrenton clinic officer in charge. “Our members are receiving invaluable experience, and we are providing much-needed services to residents who don’t have access to them on a regular basis. I’ve received nothing but positive feedback from everyone we’ve served.”

The Innovation Readiness Training Program began as a Department of Defense Response to the 1992 “Rebuild America” Initiative, and includes opportunities for Active, Guard, and Reserve Service Members, (and multi-national partners) to integrate as a joint and whole-of-society team to train and serve American communities.

According to an excerpt from a 1993 Senate Armed Services Committee Report, “The American people have made an enormous investment in developing the skills, capabilities, and resources of the Armed Forces. These resources, if properly matched to local needs and coordinated with civilian efforts, can be a useful contribution to addressing the serious domestic needs of the United States." 

Sallie Veasley of Warrenton was one of the local residents who received care at Warrenton. She received an eye exam and dental services. After having a couple teeth pulled, she was having difficulty speaking, but communicated that she was very pleased with the care she received and the friendly, caring manner in which it was provided. 

A significant number of patients seen were minors. Reports from the clinic sites were that the children were very excited to be receiving care from the Air Force and Navy staffs but were not overwhelmingly thrilled with visiting the dentists.

“Children generally never like to go to the dentist,” Polos said. “However, most of them left happier than before they went in.”

The ECG IRT is comprised of 60 Air Force Reserve, 38 Navy Reserve, seven Active Air Force, two Active Navy and 27 Air National Guard members for a total of 134 personnel serving local residents. The opportunity provides experience for not only the service providers, but for servicemembers from the logistics, personnel accountability, communications, services, public affairs, chaplain, bio medical, pharmacy and public health career fields.

“An IRT mission provides hands-on, real-world training to improve the readiness and survivability of servicemembers should they deploy into complex contingency environments,” said ECG IRT Deputy Officer in Charge Navy Lt. Luke Sticht. “It is a collaborative program that leverages military contributions and community resources to multiply value and cost savings for participants. IRT’s strengthen and build community partnerships, while providing key services for American communities.”