LIHU‘E — Mayor Derek Kawakami, the County of Kaua‘i and state Department of Health Kaua‘i District Health Office welcomed the leadership team for Tropic Care Thursday during a short ceremony at the Lihu‘e Civic Center Mo‘ikeha Building rotunda.
“Just having you here represents faith and hope,” said County Councilmember Bernard Carvalho Jr., who experienced four previous Tropic Care deployments as mayor. “When people see you, they feel the hope you bring. You have the aloha spirit.”
Col. Scott E. Olech, commander of the 149th Medical Group, is the Tropic Care mission commander of about 250 military personnel who will provide free medical service in dentistry and optometry and physical examinations to the people of Kaua‘i and Ni‘ihau starting Monday and continuing through June 20.
“The majority of the group will be arriving Friday and Saturday,” said DOH Public Health Nurse Manager Toni Torres, who has been a participant of previous Tropic Care missions. “They set up the clinics over the weekend and will be ready to roll Monday morning. Most of the troops will be staying at the Sheraton Kaua‘i Coconut Beach and the Hilton Garden Inn.”
According to information from the County Council, the military personnel includes doctors, nurses, pharmacists, optometrists, dentists and others from the armed forces. The IRT (Innovative Readiness Training), whose purpose is to provide military reservists with real-world rapid-deployment training, simultaneously fulfills a two-week annual training requirement as part of the Pentagon’s objectives, and thereby fortuitously
provides services that address a range of serious unmet health-care needs.
Tropic Care Kaua‘i 2022 is a medical mission of the U.S. Department of Defense as part of their IRT Program that can address the medical needs of the people of Kaua‘i.
“The County of Kaua‘i, and all our residents, welcome you,” Kawakami said. “This is my first Tropic Care as mayor, but the people who have experienced the previous Tropic Care missions know and feel the impact Tropic Care has on the island. We thank you for taking care of our small island.”
The welcome proclamation presented by Kawakami to Olech anticipates that some 5,000 Kaua‘i and Ni‘ihau community members will be impacted by this year’s mission that will base out of three community clinics — Kapa‘a Middle School, Kaua‘i Community College and ‘Ele‘ele School.
Clinic hours are from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and service is on a first-come, first-served basis. Clinics will observe shortened hours on June 19 and 20, when the clinics close at noon each day.
People attending the clinics are encouraged to bring their own water, snacks, eyeglasses and a list of prescriptions.
Two mobile clinics will be offered, one at the Kilauea School from Monday through Wednesday, June 13 through 15, and the second one at the Waimea Easter Seals facility Friday, Saturday and Monday, June 17, 18 and 20.
“I got my eyeglasses through Tropic Care,” said ua‘i County Councilman Billy DeCosta. “I was transitioning to become a teacher. Today, this is my first term on the Kaua‘i County Council where I can see the impact of your visit to the island. Thank you for taking care of us, and please do come back.”
People requiring auxiliary aids, service or other accomodations due to a disability should call 808-241-3495 at least a week in advance. Requests made early will allow adequate time to fulfill them.
Additionally, The Kaua‘i Bus fixed-route services throughout the island will be free between Monday, June 13 and Monday, June 20, to help people access the services provided by Tropic Care.
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 808-245-0453 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Source: The Garden Island