Free Dental, Vision and Medical Care in Harrisonburg, Virginia On March 2nd and 3rd
Free dental, vision, and medical care: that sounds too good to be true, but those services are being offered to anyone in our listening area and beyond. Remote Area Medical, or RAM, will have a mobile medical clinic set up at the Rockingham County Fairgrounds at 4804 South Valley Pike in Harrisonburg, Virginia on Saturday and Sunday, March 2nd and 3rd.
Robert Lambert, Media Relations and Development Specialist at RAM, has the details. He says, “We are a nonprofit organization headquartered in Knoxville, Tennessee, and we were founded in 1985 by Mr. Stan Brock, who a lot of people might remember from ‘Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom,’ and he founded us, initially, to be a safety net provider of health care services in developing nations, Third World countries, areas that, really, have no access to health care whatsoever. However, very soon after beginning operations, he began getting requests for health care services here in America, and, so, now, today, about 90% of what we do is in America, and, in that, mostly comes in the form of our mobile medical clinics, in which we travel all over the country, and we provide free dental, vision, and medical care to anybody that needs it.”
Once again, you heard that right: free dental, vision, and medical care to anyone who needs it. There are no restrictions in terms of residency, income, insurance, I.D. – nothing. All patients will have the option of receiving DENTAL and MEDICAL care or VISION and MEDICAL care, but not DENTAL and VISION care on the same day. It is important to note, though, that all the services are offered on a first-come, first-serve basis.
“One of the saddest parts of our work is we see people frequently who show up to our clinic 24 hours, 36 hours, even 48 hours in advance, because they’re that desperate to receive free health care,” continues Mr. Lambert. “So, the way it’ll work in Harrisonburg is the parking lot will open Friday night going in to Saturday at midnight, and we’ll start distributing tickets at 3:00 a.m. on Saturday, so we always really encourage people to get there as early as they possibly can, especially if they want dental or vision, because those are the services that are most in demand, so it would not surprise me if people are there Friday morning, Friday afternoon waiting, but, again, the parking lot will open no later than midnight, tickets go out at 3:00 a.m., and then at 6:00 a.m., we will open the doors to the clinic and begin inviting everyone inside based upon their ticket number.”
The amount of people receiving services will depend on how many volunteers are available. Mr. Lambert says, “By 3:00 a.m., we will know how many tickets are gonna be given out, and, then, if there are people there at 3:00 a.m. who don’t get a ticket, they can come back Sunday morning and try again, because the ticketing process repeats each day. Of course, as a nonprofit, we do have limited resources, and we’re unable to always treat everyone, but there’s always that second day, so just try to come back if you don’t get a ticket on the first day.
“For us, it’s huge, because there are hundreds of thousands of people in pain and suffering all around the country, and they don’t have the money to have their teeth cleaned or to get a pair of glasses, and that’s affecting their livelihood. You know, if you can’t see well, you’re not going to be able to function well in a job, most likely, so we’re just here to try to help prevent pain and alleviate that suffering for as many people as possible, which we think is pretty important.”
Mr. Lambert concludes with further contact information. He says, “You can either give us a call at 865-579-1530, or you can go to our website, www.ramusa.org, and you can find all the information about the clinic, how to volunteer or how to donate.