LIHUE — Lt. Col. Paul Sherman of the Air National Guard said people are anticipating the arrival of Tropic Care 2020.
“Wednesday, we were walking through Kapaa when an elderly gentleman approached us,” Sherman said. “He asked if we could check his eyes now. People definitely know who we are, and they’re getting excited.”
Sherman is the officer in charge of the Tropic Care unit that will be on Kauai in April as part of the Instant Readiness Training program.
He was joined by several of the Tropic Care leads in visiting with Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami during the Tropic Care 2020 initial planning meeting.
“I’m excited but scared at the same time,” Kawakami said. “I was involved with Tropic Care when I was in the (state) Legislature, but this is the first time I’m involved as the mayor. We know the people like you and need the work you provide. We thank you for selecting this small place over other worthwhile locations.”
Tropic Care 2020 will be the fifth IRT mission on Kauai, and will offer free clinic services from April 27 through May 5 under the lead of the U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Sherman.
“We have 250 people involved in the operation,” Sherman said. “For a lot of the people involved, this is a meaningful experience because they are treating American citizens. They are usually taking care of other soldiers.”
Dr. Janet Berreman of the state Department of Health Kauai District Health Office said competition for this Tropic Care mission was especially keen, with more than 200 applications for the 28 final selections. Of the 28 selections, there were only five medical missions selected.
“With the strong competition for Tropic Care, Kauai is honored to have been selected as one of five medical missions nationwide this year,” Berreman said. “This is not something people can take for granted. We truly appreciate the Instant Readiness Training program, and especially the Tropic Care units that come to train.”
Through the provision of dental, optometric and primary care visits at no cost to participants, previous Tropic Care missions in 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2017 have addressed a range of significant health care needs on Kauai, she said.
Details of Tropic Care will appear once the lead group finalizes plans based on their findings on this initial discovery trip.