UWA partners with Operation: Black Belt

Published 8:59 pm Friday, April 13, 2012

LIVINGSTON – The University of West Alabama’s Center for Business and Economic Services (CBES) has announced a partnership that will bring a much-needed service to citizens of the Black Belt. The service will offer essential care to citizens free of charge.

The Delta Regional Authority (DRA) and The United States Air Force National Guard and Reserve Commands will host Operation Black Belt 2012, a military community assistance mission May 1 through May 10 in Demopolis, Selma and Hayneville. The program will provide treatment for medical, dental, or vision care for citizens of the Black Belt region of Alabama.

Providing outpatient services to area residents, the program has no restrictions on who may receive services or assistance. All services will be provided at absolutely no cost to the patient. Clinical services available include outpatient medical, diagnostic, and counseling services. Dental services include check-ups, cleaning, fillings, and extractions. Vision services include vision tests, prescriptions, and glasses made to those prescriptions. The mission will also provide youth sports physicals and physical check-ups for all ages.

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Founded in 2000, the DRA has made significant strides in improving the quality of life for the 10 million residents of the 252 counties and parishes in the Mississippi Delta region.

“In just over a year, Delta Regional Authority (DRA) has developed a strong partnership with the University of West Alabama. DRA’s economic, community development, and leadership programs, combined with humanitarian operations such as Operation Black Belt, have measurably improved the eight-state region,” explained J. William “Billy” McFarland, Jr., CBES director.

CBES duties for the mission’s Demopolis operation will include support, coordination, and liaison for the Federal/State Distinguished Visitor Day program, which will bring government leaders to the Black Belt on Friday, May 4. CBES will welcome DRA Federal Co-Chairman Chris Masingill of Arkansas and Alternate Federal Co-Chairman Mike Marshall of Missouri back to the Black Belt.

Both organizations hold within their missions providing opportunities to improve the lives of the regions’ citizens, and the partnership is one that McFarland hopes will continue to grow.

“We are equally proud to partner with them and the U.S. Air Force on this historic humanitarian mission, which will provide desperately-needed medical and dental care to thousands of residents in our service area at no charge. We look forward to future partnerships that will benefit the citizens of our region.

Any Alabama Black Belt resident who requires treatment for any type of medical, dental, or vision care that can be formed in a medical office is encouraged to take advantage of the federally funded care opportunity to receive care for the condition.

Services will be performed at the former New Era Cap building located at 918 South Cedar Avenue in Demopolis. The mission will be open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.