Partnering together to serve others

On Thursday, July 26, 2012, a volunteer with Remote Medical Access prepares a set of lenses to be cut into glasses.
On Thursday, July 26, 2012, a volunteer with Remote Medical Access prepares a set of lenses to be cut into glasses. One of the largest humanitarian missions of its kind, Operation Lone Star is an annual joint exercise involving the Texas Military Forces, several other military and civilian agencies that partner together to provide medical, dental and vision services to the under-served communities of south Texas, while taking part in a disaster preparedness exercise.

 

 Story by Laura Lopez

 
 BROWNSVILLE, Texas - As hundreds of volunteers from various local, state and federal agencies provide free medical  services to the under-served communities in south Texas, members of the Texas Military Forces spent Thursday, July 26,  2012, in Brownsville, Texas, receiving a first-hand look at everything from blood pressure checks and diabetes screenings  to dental care and prescription glasses, as part of Operation Lone Star VIP Day.

 A partnership that started 14 years ago is now the largest public health humanitarian mission of its kind in the United States  and includes the Texas Department of State Health Services, United States Public Health Services, international  representatives, as well as countless of volunteers from other local, state and federal agencies. For the man behind  Operation Lone Star, it is the memories of constantly being sick in the second grade that has made Dr. Brian Smith, Texas  Department of State Health Services Region 11 medical director come to appreciate medical care and those who continue  to help others.

 “Everyone involved in Operation Lone Star has been selfless over the years and been extremely dedicated to the mission,”  said Smith. “It has been an honor and privilege to work with all of you over the years.”

 A full-scale operation providing disaster recovery training and emergency preparedness, Operation Lone Star 2011 saw  nearly 10,000 people for more than 53,000 services that included immunizations, hearing and vision exams, sports  physicals for students, medical evaluations and exams, dental services and social services. 

 Also joining forces at this year’s exercise, members of the Remote Area Medical Foundation stated that while they have  completed over 674 missions across the United States in the last 20 years, this was their first time, and hopefully not their  last time, in Texas. Able to bring various medical, dental and vision services to the shorter one-week long Operation Lone Star, the message was clear.

“Some people may as well be on the moon in terms of the access they have to necessary medical care, that’s how essential this program is,” said Stan Brock, founder of Remote Area Medical Foundation.

Honored and thankful for the Texas Military Forces to be a part of Operation Lone Star for the last 14 years, Texas Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. John F. Nichols referenced Hurricane Dolly from 2008 as a situation where this very mission not only enabled our service members to deploy quickly, but also get much needed assistance to the citizens of Texas.

“When we go overseas to support our country we sometimes forget about what is going on back here at home and Operation Lone Star is just one example of how we can demonstrate ‘Texans serving Texas,’” said Nichols.

Despite Operation Lone Star being able to provide free medical care to more than 100,000 south Texas residents over the last 14 years and its ability to continue growing and strengthening to include international partners, many feel the mission is still a critical part in an on-going battle.

“It will never be enough, but it’s a great start,” said Cameron County Judge Carlos Cascos.

Five 449th Air Support Group members earn Security Forces beret

Five 449th Air Support Group members earn Security Forces beret
SMSgt Dan Hawkins, PAO, TXSG
2012/06/29
CAMP BOWIE, Texas – Five members of the Texas State Guard’s 449TH Air Support Group (ASG) at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, were awarded Security Forces berets in a ceremony held here in conjunction with the TXSG’s annual training Jun. 28.

The beret ceremony culminated an extensive combined training effort between the 449 ASG, the Texas Air National Guard’s 149th Tactical Fighter Group and the 902nd Security Forces Squadron at Randolph Air Force Base.

Col. Thomas Ball, 5th Air Wing commander, presided over the ceremony and led the new Security Forces members in reciting the security forces general orders and the career field creed before the berets were presented.

Members awarded the beret include Maj. Ferdinand Girard, 1st Lt. Bruce Minor, Senior Master Sgt. Ron Olivarri, Tech. Sgt. Mike Hodges and Airman 1st Class Joshua Roberts.

In attendance at the ceremony were members of the 5th Air Wing’s 449th, 417th and 447th ASG’s, along with the 4th Air Wing’s 454th ASG. Presentations on the history and prayer of the security forces career field were also conducted.

Ball stressed the importance of security forces in completing the overall mission of the Texas State Guard.

“Force protection doesn’t happen without you (Security Forces),” Ball said. “The Texas State Guard and your community are depending on you to keep our assets secure.”