RAM to Provide FREE Health Care Services Saturday and Sunday

November 9, 2010
Dwayne Page
Mike Foster

The Remote Area Medical Volunteer Corps of East Tennessee is returning to DeKalb County on Saturday and Sunday, November 13th & 14th at DeKalb County High School providing free health care services to people of all ages regardless of income. A similar event took place in DeKalb County at the high school in August, 2005.

Remote Area Medical (RAM) is a non-profit, volunteer corps dedicated to serving mankind by providing free health care, dental care, eye care, and technical and educational assistance to people in remote areas of the United States and the world.

Founded in 1985, Remote Area Medical is a publicly supported all-volunteer charitable organization. Volunteer doctors, nurses, and support workers participate in expeditions (at their own expense). Medical supplies, medicines, facilities and vehicles are donated.

County Mayor Mike Foster says the November clinic will be open to anyone, no matter where you live. There are also no income guidelines. All you have to do is show up. "They go all over the eastern United States into areas that are in need and provide free medical care, especially eye care and dental care. Probably most of the people coming to this clinic would not seek medical help locally. Most of them are people who would go untreated."

"They do eye care, dental care, and some general medical services. They've got 46 doctors and eleven fourth year medical students coming along with a lot of local assistants, nurses, lab techs, and others who will be here to help. One dentist is flying down from Chicago and bringing his entire staff. Everyone is donating their time for free. We had hoped to have the mammography unit here but it has already been scheduled to be somewhere else this weekend. We have about 125-130 volunteers who will be helping. We're still in need of more local medical professionals who would like to come and they don't have to be there for both days, maybe one day or part of a day. We're also still in need of some donations."

"All the county does is help pay the motel bill for the volunteers. We're still a little bit short on donations for that. Some of the local businesses, banks, and industries have made pledges and we're getting close."

"Elizabeth Chapel Baptist Church is cooking for the volunteers on Saturday. Sunday lunch meal is being prepared by the Smithville Church of Christ. We really want to thank them for stepping up and doing this."

"This is a really good thing. We had about 700-800 people (patients) here last time. They (eye care providers) made close to 300 pairs of glasses. This weekend, they will start seeing patients around 6:30 a.m. each morning and they will take the first people in line. We've already had some people say they're going to take their place in line as early as midnight if need be."

If you would like to make a donation or provide food for the volunteers call the county mayor's office at 597-5175.

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