Southern Care Mission

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By Evie Allen
By Jared Roberts

MARION -- Members of the military offer free medical service to anyone who needs it. The program's called the Southern Care Mission.

They're set up this week in three locations, Marion, Harrisburg and Cairo.

Many people in our region still don't have healthcare coverage. Easy access to free dental services almost seems too good to be true.

"It costs a lot of money to get them fixed and I'm a disabled vet and the V.A. doesn't cover it," says Stephen Baker. 

Baker has been living with three shattered teeth for almost a year.     
 
"You make enough money to pay the bills. But stuff like this, you learn to suck it up and drive on,"  he says.
          
Tuesday, all three of his teeth were fixed at no charge. Just one of the services reservists with the army and navy are offering over the next 10 days.
 
"The military has been a great host to me. They walked me through everything and just made me feel comfortable and at ease," says patient Christopher Reid.
 
One hundred and fourteen military medical professionals are working in Marion, Harrisburg and Cairo-- taking care of as many people as they can. Navy reservists are in charge of cutting brand new eye glasses.    
 
"This allows us to give a platform to give back to our communities who have supported us over the past," says Captain Amber Phipps.
 
The mission is a partnership between the Delta Regional Authority and the Department of Defense.
Captain Phipps says the program helps them refine their skills while giving back.
 
"One hundred percent of the patients that came through here expressed sincere gratitude. And you can definitely tell that there's a medical need within the communities," says Phipps.
 
Patients are also linked up with local providers for follow-up services.
 
"It's so nice to see these people who really need these services, getting taken care of," says Julie Yates with the Dental Safari Company. 
 
Baker says he never saw anything like this during his seven years in the army. And it makes him even more proud to be a veteran.     
 
"It's a blessing to have this opportunity to come and have this done and not have it worry about this anymore."
 
If you plan to visit one of the Southern Care sites, officials remind you to bring your ID. 
 
The clinics will run at all three sites from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. through June 27. They will be closed Sunday the 22nd.  
 
Marion Regional
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