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The latest news from every corner of the state, including policy emerging from Missouri's capitol.

Military medical personnel are bringing free services to southern Missouri

 An Army member provides dental work at a community clinic. Such services will be available in Ava, Eminence and Houston for a week, free of charge.
Delta Regional Authority
An Army member provides dental work at a community clinic. Such services will be available in Ava, Eminence and Houston for a week, free of charge.

More than 100 medical members of the Army, Air Force and reserves are in southern Missouri for a week to provide free medical services to anyone who wants them.

The project is a collaboration among the Department of Defense, the Delta Regional Authority and local health care agencies.

“These are the favored missions where we can train our soldiers, build relationships with community partners and see the impact we have in the community,” said Lt. Col. Safuratu Aranmolate, an Army field hospital commander.

The mission is designed to help the communities and train troops by simulating work environments that the medical officers may face if deployed during a natural disaster or in overseas conflicts.

“Some of us are in high school gymnasiums, and some of us are in storage closets. We have to be able to get that practice that, you know, some of the medical professionals won’t get that kind of field environment from their civilian jobs,” said Capt. David Falcon, an Air Force medical officer.

In addition to working in temporary medical spaces and sleeping in makeshift quarters, the military medical staff will have an opportunity to work with regular patients in situations that would be similar to what they would see during a deployment.

“They have to realize they have to kind of have that empathy and have that connection with the patients that may not respond in the same way that a soldier would. So it’s a great opportunity for expanding that skillset,” Falcon said.

The medical care will be available in the towns of Ava, Eminence and Houston, which are all located in counties that have high levels of poverty and limited access to medical care.

“The need is great here because sometimes specialty care and just access to care is a little bit harder to come by,” said Tim Shryack, CEO of Missouri Ozarks Community Health. “The military is going to provide great care, and again it’s first-come, first-served, so whoever comes here, it doesn’t matter if they come from far away, I know they’re gonna take care of them, and it’s gonna be a huge benefit.”

The services provided include basic medical and wellness exams, dental checkups, extractions and fillings, and vision exams and glasses.

The clinics will be open 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. until July 8. They will be held at Eminence High School, Houston High School and the MOCH Wellness Center in Ava.

Follow Jonathan on Twitter: @JonathanAhl

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Jonathan is the General Manager of Tri States Public radio. His duties include but are not limited to, managing all facets of the station, from programming to finances to operations. Jonathan grew up in the south suburbs of Chicago. He has a B.A in music theory and composition from WIU and a M.A in Public Affairs Reporting from The University of Illinois at Springfield. Jonathan began his journey in radio as a student worker at WIUM. While in school Jonathan needed a summer job on campus. He heard WIUM was hiring, and put his bid in. Jonathan was welcomed on the team and was very excited to be using his music degree. He had also always been interested in news and public radio. He soon learned he was a much better reporter than a musician and his career was born. While at WIUM, Jonathan hosted classical music, completed operations and production work, was a news reporter and anchor, and served as the stage manager for Rural Route 3. Jonathan then went to on to WIUS in Springfield where he was a news anchor and reporter covering the state legislature for Illinois Public Radio. After a brief stint in commercial radio and TV, Jonathan joined WCBU in Peoria, first in operations then as a news reporter and for the last ten years of his time there he served as the News Director. Jonathan’s last job before returning to Tri States Public Radio was as the News Director/ Co-Director of Content for Iowa Public Radio. During Jonathan’s off time he enjoys distance running, playing competitive Scrabble, rooting for Chicago Cubs, listening to all kinds of music and reading as much as he can. He lives in Macomb with his wife Anita and children Tommy and Lily.