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Medical mission sees more than 11k locally

By the end of the day on Wednesday, Operation “Alabama Black Belt 2012,” operated through the Department of Defense’s Innovative Readiness Training (IRT) Program, tracked more than 29,173 patient encounters. The Department of Defense estimates that is nearly 15,000 individuals, a number that tripled expectations.

That equates to more than $1,369,168.92 in medical care that was provided free of charge. The Demopols site saw 11,476 patient encounters.

From May 1 to 10, residents and neighbors of Hayneville, Selma and Demopolis have been eligible to receive free medical and dental services from 250 medical personnel from across the nation with the National Guard, Army Reserve, Navy Reserve, and Air Force Reserve.

This initiative is a premiere world-class field training event for military forces and provides significant care to the residents of the medically under-served and economically depressed communities of Selma, Demopolis, and Hayneville, Alabama.

“Increasing access to affordable, quality healthcare in the Delta improves lives and communities,” DRA Federal Co-Chairman Chris Masingill said. “The overwhelming response over the last two weeks affirms how valuable the Armed Forces and Innovative Readiness Training are in our Region. The Delta Regional Authority will continue working to get important programs like this in our area.”

Jim Byard Jr., director of the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs which administers the DRA program in Alabama said the event was a success for everyone involved.

“I know those who benefitted from these services are appreciative of this program and its success is shown in the numbers,” he said. “We are deeply indebted the work performed by dedicated service people and the commitment made to the area by the Delta Regional Authority.”