The Tropic Care treatment

PUHI — Jane Tayloff of Koloa took advantage of the free service.

Tayloff was one of thousands of people who have stopped by Tropic Care Kauai to receive free medical attention, and she was blown away by the treatment she received on Sunday.

And the treatment her dog received, too.

“This is the best health care I have experienced,” Tayloff said. “I had my needs taken care of, but when they took the time to visit Shamir, my service dog, it brought tears to my eyes. A lot of people would have just dismissed it as another case, but not these people.”

Residents have until Thursday to take advantage of free dental, medical and optometry services at three clinical sites around the island. Tropic Care returned to Kauai last week with approximately 270 service members from both active and reserve duty from the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps and the Hawaii National Guard to work jointly with civilian professionals at clinical sites established at the Kapaa Middle School, Kauai Community College and on the Westside at Eleele Elementary School.

So far, the reception has been great. Since June 16, the 16 medical providers, 24 dentists and 13 optometrists with Tropic Care have helped 5,338 people, and produced 2,083 pairs of glasses.

That’s exactly the mission of the operation, said U.S. Army Col. Susan Fitzgerald, commander of Tropic Care 2014.

“We want to provide quality medical services to as many people as we can,” Fitzgerald said. “This mission allows us to work with our civilian partners and six different branches of the Armed Forces toward a singular mission of providing quality medical care.”

The teams are capable of creating up to 500 pair of glasses a day.

Charles Briseno, the site officer in charge at the Kauai Community College clinical site, said the work is possible because of the enlisted people.

“The glasses, reading, or prescription, can be ready for pick up within 24 to 48 hours,” Briseno said. “The people who work here have a lot of pride in delivering quality service. They work hard, 12 hours a day, through this period to deliver as much service as they can.”

He said the personnel delivering the services are not here to learn how to do their job.

“They do this professionally,” Briseno said. “They are professionals and what they are doing is providing what they are capable of doing with members of other branches of the military and the civilian community.”

As for the spot work on Tayloff’s dog on Sunday, U.S. Army Capt. Robert McArdy normally practices veterinary medicine, so he wasn’t out of his element lending medical help to the four-legged. Besides checking on Shamir, he stopped during the Mayor-a-thon Saturday to visit another youngster’s dog, Honi, who was on a weight-loss program.

“The warmth and reception from the people has been fantastic,” Briseno said. “We’re not going hungry.”

Fitzgerald said in addition to participating in the annual Mayor-a-thon, Saturday, Tropic Care personnel also visited the bon dance at the Kapaa Hongwanji Mission Friday night.

“Hawaii has a long history of support for the military and has a long list of distinguished people who have given so much,” Fitzgerald said, adding that people are not limited to one service per visit. “This is a privilege for us to provide for the people.

“We appreciate the people of Kauai,” he added.

The clinical sites are open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Thursday.

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