MARTIN, Tenn. (NNS) -- Navy, Air National Guard and Air Force medical professionals participating in one of the largest community outreach efforts in the Midwest as part of an Innovative Readiness Training (IRT) mission volunteered for a local food distribution agency July 13 in Greenfield, Tenn.
The 14 service members, participating in the Hope of Martin 2013 IRT in Martin, used their limited time off duty to participate in the event, something Hope of Martin Senior Enlisted Leader Senior Chief Hospital Corpsman Jeffrey Tabor said speaks volumes of the Guardsmen, Airmen and Sailors involved in this Office of the Secretary of Defense(OSD)-sponsored, Air National Guard (ANG)-led initiative designed to improve military readiness while simultaneously providing quality services to communities throughout America.
"These individuals are working 16-hour days, seeing hundreds of patients daily and for them to use their extremely limited down time to assist a project this big is truly outstanding," he said. "These service members are epitomizing teamwork at the clinic in Martin and here at Greenfield High School."
Volunteers unloaded a 53-foot trailer filled with perishable and non-perishable items, produce and breads. They additionally sorted the consumables and then assisted in the assembly line-style distribution of the food to an estimated 250 families in the Weakley County area.
Tabor said the service members' short-notice volunteer effort, sponsored by the Weakley County Backpack Program with food donated by Second Harvest in Nashville, represents the spirit of service members everywhere, and their willingness to assist those in need.
"Even though we are wearing different uniforms, these individuals are shipmates," he said. "Our participation in this effort is an extension of what we're doing at the clinic - working in a joint environment, learning each other's military culture, training for a mission anywhere and most importantly, becoming part of the community."
The Hope for Martin IRT project is a multiservice mission comprised of active duty, Reserve and National Guard members from Navy, Army and Air Force components. Navy service members participating in the weeklong exercise include personnel from the Navy Medicine Education and Training Command (NMETC) Reserve Component.
NMETC Reserve Sailors and other U.S. Armed Forces participants are scheduled to provide medical, dental, pharmaceutical and ophthalmology services to Martin and surrounding area residents.
The tri-service medical personnel are scheduled to provide multiple services, including nursing evaluations, blood glucose monitoring and Hemoglobin A1C testing. Dental services include assessments, extractions, fillings and cleanings. Eye exams and spectacle manufacturing are offered, and a pharmacy is dispensing prescriptions once the patient has been seen and assessed by the medical team.
NMETC Reserve Component Executive Officer and Hope of Martin IRT On-Site Coordinator Capt. Janie Brier said the importance of the Hope of Martin IRT and subsequent day-long volunteer effort serves as a reminder of the flexibility for which the U.S. military is known.
"We are capable of working in austere environments and overcoming any challenge," she said. "This IRT proves what a dedicated, ready and team-oriented group of service members can accomplish anywhere, at any time."
NMETC is the sole point of accountability for formal Navy Medicine education and training services, and is part of the Navy Medicine team, a global health care network of Navy medical professionals around the world who provide high-quality health care to more than 1 million eligible beneficiaries. Navy Medicine personnel deploy with Sailors and Marines worldwide, providing critical mission support aboard ships, in the air, under the sea and on the battlefield.
For more news from Navy Medicine Education and Training Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/nmsc/.