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HomeNewsMedical
Published: Sunday, 8/8/2004

National Guard deploys for health screenings

BY ERIKA RAY
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Limon Sanders gets an eye examination from Guardsman Gwen Freeman of Columbus. Limon Sanders gets an eye examination from Guardsman Gwen Freeman of Columbus.
LONG / BLADE Enlarge

Some people are lax in taking their children to the doctor to keep them up to date on their shots.

But when immunizations are offered for free, they line up in droves with children in tow.

Members of the Ohio National Guard's Medical Command Unit are able to hone their skills once a year by offering free health-care screenings to the public in one of the state's counties, according to 1st Lt. Bernie Anderson, the officer in charge of GuardCare, the Toledo training event.

This year the 63 Guardsmen are providing screenings at the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department building, 635 North Erie St.

They performed their tasks yesterday, and will do so again from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. today.

The Guard will be back at the health department from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 21 and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 22 to provide the same types of health-care assistance.

"I find it ridiculous to pay a doctor $50 for the office visit and another $50 or $100 for the shot if someone can do it for free," said Mark Heidebrink, who was filling out forms to get immunizations for his 6-year-old daughter, Madalyn.

In front of Mr. Heidebrink were about 100 people, waiting to complete various screenings. They included Ramon Johnson, 17, who had almost finished his physical to play football at Woodward High School.

Behind Mr. Heidebrink about 150 people were in line outside the building.

One was Kelly Kujawa, who said she had waited for three hours to get to the door so her three elementary school boys could be seen for sports physicals.

Lieutenant Anderson said that since Lucas County is the largest county where the Guard has offered screenings, he expects to surpass the about 500 people the Guard usually sees in a weekend during the training.

Lieutenant Anderson added that once people are admitted to the building, it can take up to three hours to complete the screenings, which include sports and adult physicals, childhood and adult immunizations, hearing and PSA testing, vision checks, dental screenings, EKGs, HIV and lab testing, cholesterol and blood sugar screenings, and PAP smears.

"I like doing [the screenings] because we can show the community what we do in the Ohio National Guard, and it's a way to give back to them a little bit for the way they support us," Lieutenant Anderson said.

"It's a way to show them some appreciation."

Contact Erika Ray at: eray@theblade.com or 419-724-6050.



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