A mile from the Texas-Mexico border at El Cenizo Community Center, U.S. Army medics recently went the extra mile to help struggling families with unmet health care needs through a unique Texas A&M University program.
Personnel from the Army North's Army Reserve Engagement Cell (AREC) teamed up with local practitioners and A&M nursing students to provide medical, dental and vision screenings for disadvantaged residents during a two-week outreach program, an article on the Army's website said. In the first three days, team members fulfilled over 500 appointments
"From what we've seen in the first couple of days of the operation, it's going very well," Sgt. 1st Class Jacob Pattison, an AREC coordinator, said in the article. "It's awesome to see it pay off for the benefit of all the people involved."
The bulk of the squad’s efforts focused on four Laredo-area community centers; soldiers dispensed free medical help as a function of their Innovative Readiness Training (IRT).
"There's a dual benefit," Maj. Edward King of the Larga Vista center said in the posting. "It allows us to develop our skills and improve our training. In the meantime we're also providing a valuable service to the people in the area."
Claudia Miramontes, 26, had her five daughters treated at El Cenizo at no charge. Had she brought her girls to a regular clinic, her expenses would have been $500 to $1,000, the posting said. The family lives in an unincorporated area lacking basic infrastructure such as power, paved roads and potable water; Claudia’s husband’s $800 weekly paycheck barely covers expenses.
"We try to limit ourselves on a lot of things," she said in the article "(The IRT mission) really helps me and my husband out. It saved us a lot."