Operation Walking Shield Providing No Cost Health Care To Underserved Communities
Medical services like optometry or dental care may be hard to come by for some because of finances or lack of insurance. However, all you had to do today was stop by Cass Lake Bena High School and receive quality health care without spending a dime. It’s called Innovative Readiness Training, a.k.a. “Walking Shield.”
“We provide the community with services and while we do that, we get our training that’s required for the military,” said Lt. Col. Duane Linn.
Indian Health Service sponsored it, and the Air Force Reserve Command and the Air National Guard provided the resources. Think of it as a walk-in clinic that provides medical, optometry and dental services for underserved communities.
“So if they have not had their annual exam, physical exam, done in a while, or if they just want to make sure their child is doing well, or they have a basic illness possibly, that we can prescribe maybe some antibiotics for or see if there’s anything that you need,” said Maj. Venus Victorino, clinic organizer. “This is the place for you.”
Word is spreading fast about Walking Shield. Patient Heather Fineday found out about it through her med nurse and already told her cousin about the clinic. She appreciates walking in and not having to pay.
“Well, it’s really amazing, because I’m a single mom of three babies,” said Fineday. “It helped a lot, it really did help a lot. It was saying it was free, so I hopped in it.”
Dental services include filling holes or pulling teeth. Some people were doing a comprehensive eye exam, so they can have a prescription for glasses.
“‘Hey, I just have a quick question, and I didn’t want to bother my doctor, can you help?'” said Chief of Medicine Fabian Rodriguez. “Without assuming the doctor’s role, we’re just here to give some good advice.”
Walking Shield is convenient for anyone, but especially larger families because they don’t have to make separate appointments. It’s a one-stop shop for all basic medical needs.
“This is awesome, to get it all done at one time and to come before school, and all that is awesome,” said Patient Doris Wittner.
Wittner was driving by and noticed the sign to come in for healthcare. She was there along with her five children and they were all going to be seen.
“I just like to get everything and everyone done at the same time and it saves on appointment time and other inconveniences, it’s just a good deal,” said Wittner.
The clinic continues until July 20 from 9-6. The busiest times are in the morning and in the evening.