‘We’re here to work’

KAPAA — This is a beautiful place to be deployed to, but we’re here to work, said Senior Master Sergeant Dave Wosick on Monday at the Kapaa Middle School athletic field.

Wosick was overseeing a crew which included people from North Dakota and Pennsylvania that worked to erect tents in the developing tent city on the school’s athletic field.

The tent city will house nearly 300 people who will be arriving for Tropic Care Kauai 2016, an Innovative Readiness Training operation that offers free medical services for underserved communities starting Monday. The services are provided by military reservists who get training for real world rapid deployment training.

“We check out of the Courtyard by Marriott Tuesday,” Wosick said. “We have four tents ready for occupancy once we leave the hotel. The others should be up and ready by Wednesday. We will have 32 tents where medical personnel will be staying during Tropic Care Kauai 2016.”

Tropic Care Kauai 2016 will start June 20 and run through June 29 with clinic hours from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. each day. On June 26, the clinics will have special hours from 8 a.m. until noon.

Clinic sites will be at the Eleele Elementary School, the Kapaa Middle School, and the Kauai Community College at its Office of Continuing Education and Training, located with easy access from The Kauai Bus stop.

Kauai’s people are encouraged to take advantage of the free medical, dental and vision services being offered by the Tropic Care Kauai team that is being led by Air Force Lt. Col. Tamra Buettgenback, the operation’s Officer In Charge.

The Kauai Bus will be offering free rides on all of The Kauai Bus routes from June 20 to June 29.

“We are pleased to partner once again with the Kauai District Health Office, and the Department of Defense Reserve Affairs on Tropic Care,” said Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. “This is a tremendous opportunity for the public to obtain health care services at no cost to them.”

Services which are being offered at the three sites include sports physicals, optometry examinations, eyeglass production, adult health examinations, tooth extractions, oral checkups and minor fillings.

According to KDHO leaders, clinic loads are expected to be heavier during the latter part of the mission and strongly encourage clinic visitors to arrive early in the day as well as early during the mission.

“I am delighted to again welcome our military benefactors for Tropic Care Kauai 2016 as they again give much needed services to all our island ‘ohana,” said Dr. Dileep Bal, director of the KDHO.

Many Kauai residents lack medical insurance, or are underinsured and cannot afford to be seen by a doctor, dentist, optometrist, or mental health professional unless there is an acute health issue, states a KDHO release. Tropic Care Kauai offers a solution by providing dental, optometric, and primary care visits at no cost to participants.

During 2012, Tropic Care brought 400 military reserve health professionals and support staff to provide in excess of 10,000 routine health procedures free of charge. These included 2,200 medical examinations, 3,000 dental visits, and 5,000 optometry examinations.

In 2014, Tropic Care Kauai provided 22,000 routine health procedures with 280 military reservists serving 9,200 Kauai residents.

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