Story by: Sgt. Adrian Shelton
Posted: September 5, 2014
LAREDO, Texas - Texas Military Forces service members provided medical services to Rio Grande Valley area residents during day one of Operation Lone Star at the Civic Center in Laredo, Texas, Aug. 4, 2014.
The annual five-day training exercise provides dual opportunities for cooperative efforts among Texas Military Forces, local civil authorities, and Department of State Health Services and access to health care for people of all ages in South Texas.
“It is a disaster preparedness exercise in which joint federal, state and local forces, as well as different agencies with many volunteers, provide free medical services to underserved members of the community,” said Erika M. Juarez, the Department of State Health Services public information officer at the Laredo Civic Center’s Medical Point of Dispensing. “This is the one time of the year they can get these medical services.”
Operation Lone Star, now in its sixteenth year, provides free blood pressure checks, cholesterol and diabetes screenings, hearing and vision exams, sports physicals, immunizations and limited dental services.
Due to the additional number of military personnel, “we are able to provide more immunizations than last year,” said Sgt. 1st Class David I. Soto, the non-commissioned officer in charge of approximately 58 Texas Army National Guard personnel at the Laredo Civic Center MPOD. Soto, who works as a paramedic and military leadership course instructor in San Antonio, and is in his second year of working at OLS, said that many of the service members have or are seeking medical degrees.
This year’s Operation Lone Star is being conducted in Laredo, Mission, Rio Grande City, Pharr-San Juan, and Brownsville, from Aug. 4-7, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Aug. 8 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Those who wish to receive services or want to know more information should contact their county health department or dial 2-1-1.