Military to host upcoming clinics

Published 12:57am Sunday, April 29, 2012

Uncle Sam is usually in the business of asking for one’s service, but beginning Tuesday, he’ll be extending a helping hand to serve others.

In partnership with the Delta Regional Authority and the U.S. Air Force National Guard and Reserve Commands, the City of Selma Office of Planning and Development will hold a free outpatient medical, dental and vision clinic on Washington and Lawrence streets Tuesday, May 1 through Thursday, May 10 from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day. The services are open to residents of Selma, Hayneville and Demopolis.

Planning and development director Charlotte Griffeth said the service is a part of the unit’s annual training. Griffeth said the plan is for 200 military men and women to fly into Selma today.

“It’s an important mission for them – they select a city from all over the U.S.,” Griffeth said. “We have 20 already here and we have a group flying in tomorrow (Sunday) with equipment … there is no income level, everybody can come you can come in your Mercedes or off a wagon; there is no age limit. They target underprivileged and the disadvantaged.”

Griffeth also said the special services, which will be provided by highly trained professionals ranging from nutritionists to optometrists, doctors and mental health physicians, is ideal for the area.

“There are many people with no insurance that can come to take advantage of service by high level professionals – lots are reservists,” Griffeth said. “Then, there are people who have insurance but not adequate insurance, so they can take advantage. We want everyone to take advantage of it.”

Col. Jerry Arends said once the partnership was approved by the Pentagon, he jumped to take on the mission. Arends said military personnel are coming from all over the country to help with the clinic.

“The need is great and the program does target the medically underserved and that’s the kind of mission I get excited about,” Arends said. “We have some coming from Ohio, Florida, Birmingham (and) San Diego. We’ll have an active Navy and Army group that will come to make and distribute corrective lenses that will be available for pick up the next day.”

Clinical services include: outpatient medical, diagnostic and counseling services to be performed at 19 Washington St. (across from Washington Street Market); youth sports physicals and physical checkups for all ages at 19 Washington St.; dental checkups, teeth cleaning, fillings and extractions at 2 Lawrence St. on Riverfront; and vision checks, prescriptions and glasses made at 2 Lawrence St. There are no restrictions on who may receive services or assistance. All services are provided by the U.S. government.

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