WAILUA — Sunday was a day when the more than 350 people involved with Tropic Care Kauai 2017 could let their hair down and enjoy the hospitality and gratitude of a grateful island at a luau put on by the Smith’s Tropical Paradise family.
“This was my responsibility,” said Dr. Dileep Bal who brought the first Tropic Care program to Kauai while serving as the District Health Officer for the state’s Department of Health, Kauai District Health Office. “After retiring, they had me finding the resources to have this luau where the Tropic Care people can enjoy a taste of Hawaii.”
Tropic Care Kauai started offering free medical services to Kauai’s people from June 12 under the Department of Defense Innovative Readiness Training program. This is the fourth one and it has helped thousands already.
“We need to thank Dr. Bal for having the vision of seeing the benefits of Tropic Care and bringing it to our island,” said Dr. Janet Berreman, Kauai District Health Officer.
”We also need to thank Toni Torres who has been involved with Tropic Care from its first service, and following Dr. Bal’s retirement, served as the acting district health officer.”
The free medical services are available through Wednesday at three clinic sites — the Kapaa Middle School, the Kauai Community College, and Eleele Elementary School — from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. with the exception of Wednesday when the clinic sites shut down at 1 p.m.
“Tropic Care Kauai is a readiness exercise,” said Dr. Virginia Pressler, Hawaii director of health, “I never expected that it also brings our different government agencies on different levels to work together in getting us better prepared for the unexpected.”
Berreman said in touring the different clinics, she has seen community members express appreciation and gratitude for the services.
“This is a perfect example of a win-win-win,” said Gov. David Ige who broke away from the celebration of Hokule‘a’s homecoming to present appreciation certificates to the leaders of Tropic Care Kauai. “We have every aspect of the military involved in Tropic Care, and allows us as a country to be ready for unexpected events as well as to deliver top notch medical service to those who might not otherwise get it.”
Ige thanked the people of Kauai.
“The people, place, and culture is what makes Hawaii so special,” he said.