Ohio National Guard News


Ohio National Guard provides
free medical care in Williams County

Video by Staff Sgt. Nicholas Pavlik, Ohio National Guard
Story and photos by Staff Sgt. Michael Carden, Ohio National Guard

The Ohio National Guard hosted its annual GuardCare event in Williams county this year
providing free medical services to the community in that area.

Staff Sgt. Josh Adams, a patient administration specialist with the Ohio Army National Guard Medical Detachment, registers local community members for health screenings Aug. 8, 2015, in Monpelier, Ohio, as part of GuardCare 2015. GuardCare is an annual event where the Ohio National Guard and state and local health departments offer free health screening services to medically underserved communities across Ohio.

Kendall Veres looks at her new book on healthy eating she received.

Capt. Corey Stafford, a dental officer with the Ohio Army National Guard Medical Detachment, inspects Verenice Osorio's teeth for cavities during a dental screening

MONTPELIER, Ohio (08-08-15) — An alcohol swab, one small tear in the corner of her eye, and it’s over. A smile spreads across the face of 5-year-old Hailey Smith as she is handed a lollipop. Her immunizations are done, she is ready for the first day of kindergarten.

Hailey was just one of many children who received the shots required for school by receiving medical services at GuardCare, an annual event that allows medically underserved communities to get free health screenings and immunizations from Ohio National Guard medical personnel.

GuardCare was started in 1995 after Congress authorized the use of National Guard personnel in medically underserved communities. During that timeframe, GuardCare has provided service for more than 13,000 Ohioans in 17 counties. Screenings include physical examinations; vision, hearing and dental exams; cardiovascular health; laboratory screenings; childhood and adult immunizations.

“It seems like every year we get an EKG where we have to recommend someone to go to the hospital for treatment,” said Capt. Jessica Taylor, officer-in-charge of GuardCare 2015, and a member of the Ohio Army National Guard Medical Detachment. “It’s a very important piece, I feel like we provide some lifesaving medical screening.”

The Ohio National Guard partnered with the Ohio Department of Health, Williams County Health Department and Montpelier Hospital. Planning began shortly after last year’s event in Clinton County, with monthly meetings gradually becoming weekly site visits in the lead-up to the 2015 event. Planning has already started for Guardcare 2016 in Ashtabula County.

“It’s going pretty well, we have good, professional personnel here. Many of us have worked these events for several years,” said Staff Sgt. Kevin Munsey, a healthcare specialist with the Ohio Army National Guard Medical Detachment. “We have hundreds of patients, members of the community, get access to healthcare that they normally wouldn’t get. It returns something to the community that supports us."

For many parents, the list of things to do to get their children ready for the start of the school year can be daunting. One of the goals of GuardCare is to alleviate some of the stress.

“It’s nice to get everything done in once place,” said Sasha King, a local resident whose two children received school vaccinations and sports physicals. “That it doesn’t cost anything is pretty awesome.”

“I like to see the families come through, as a parent myself,” Munsey added. “For the parents, it’s that one thing we could take off their plate that any concerns they may have about their child’s health is laid to rest.”