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178th Medical Squadron supports local community

  • Published
  • By Maj. Lindsay Logsdon
  • 178th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Nine doctors and medics from the 178th Medical Group along with 86 medical personnel from the Ohio Army National Guard Medical Detachment and 19 from the 179th Medical Group, Mansfield, Ohio provided a wide array of medical services through GuardCare to more than 793 Ohioans in Morrow County Aug. 10 and 11.

GuardCare, in its 19th year, is a cooperative program between the Ohio National Guard and the Ohio Department of Health. It is hosted each year in a different medically under served Ohio community and services are free to all Ohio residents who attend, regardless of income. This year's program was hosted out of the Morrow County Hospital, Mt. Gilead, Ohio, in coordination with the Morrow County Health Department.

Through GuardCare, Ohio National Guard and Ohio Air National Guard medical personnel provides medical support to designated communities. The support meets an existing need and provides National Guard medical personnel with valuable and realistic medical readiness training.

"We use events like this as a training opportunity for our folks, we get exposure with different aspects of the medical field we don't usually see," said Senior Master Sgt. Damon Shanks, 178 FW Superintendent of Medical Support.

Free services included: physicals; infant, childhood and some adult immunizations; hearing and vision screenings; dental screenings; HIV tests, complete blood work profiles; mammograms; EKG's; and Pap tests. 1,955 people were served.

"The event is free because the Ohio National Guard, assisted by the staffs of the Morrow County Health Department, Morrow County Hospital, Morrow County Medical Reserve Corps, and the Ohio Department of Health have stepped up to provide a literal army of medical personnel to provide these services at their own cost," said Angela Smith, Morrow County Health Commissioner told the Morrow County Sentinel.

Smith explained that GuardCare provides a very comprehensive set of health services for people who are due for a physical or testing, but who lack insurance coverage, have high deductibles or copays, or are worried about benefit maximums.

To date, GuardCare has helped nearly 10,000 Ohio residents. The Ohio National Guard initiated the Guard Care program in 1995 after Congress authorized the use of military personnel in medically under served communities as part of the Department of Defense's Innovative Readiness Training program.

This was the first year that the 178 FW participated in this event.

"These humanitarian missions is what we pride ourselves in. We plan to participate every year from here on out," said Shanks.