RAM / Homeless

The Thalia Lions Club Remote Area Medical (RAM) and Project Homeless Connect Committee Chairman is under the overall supervision of the 3rd Vice President for Community Services. http://www.ramusa.org/projects/ruralamerica.htm

July 2017 - Wise County RAM was very successful again this year. About 2000 patients were admitted during the weekend, and about 700 of those went through vision and hearing screening with the Lions. Districts 24 - D and 24-B screened 289 people on our vehicle, 24-A and 24-F screened the remainder. Several Lions from District 24-B helped staff our van, including their new DG Ann Ragland, so we had a good collaborative event with our future district partners.

The people in the above photo are Lion Dr. John Watters, Stan Brock (founder of RAM), Lion Nancy Watters, Brennan Scott and Lion Fran Scott at the RAM Vision Clinic, Wise County, Virginia, Wise County Fairgrounds during the Jul 19 - 22, 2013 fourteenth annual RAM Clinic. See
http://www.wkyt.com/wymt/home/headlines/wise-county-ram-clinic-begins-216236981.html and

Founded in 1985, Remote Area Medical is an all-volunteer charitable organization. Volunteer doctors, nurses, pilots, veterinarians and support workers participate in expeditions (at their own expense) in some of the world's most remote places at their own expense and treat thousands of patients a day under some of the worst conditions. Volunteers have provided general medical, surgical, eye, dental, and veterinary care to tens of thousands of people and animals, with 60% of services going to rural America. Each July Virginia Lions along with others from near and far away come to the RAM expedition on the Wise County Fairgrounds in southwest rural Virginia.

Mar 2015. RAM is needed more than ever as Southwest Virginia faces escalating medical needs. In the Appalachian Voices December 19, 2014 article Region Faces Escalating Medical Need, Responds with Community-Based Initiativeshttp://appvoices.org/2014/12/19/appalachias-health-checkup Molly Moore reports deteriorating conditions despite help from the following organizations:
Remote Area Medical (RAM) is “the nation’s largest annual event [RAM] is held in partnership with The Health Wagon in Wise County, Va.  RAM providers have identified thousands of cases of previously undiagnosed diabetes, hypertension and cancer.”  
The Health Wagon “strives to meet the unique challenges of health care delivery to the medically under-served and indigent in poverty-stricken areas of rural Appalachia.” - http://thehealthwagon.org/hwwp
Appalachian Prosperity Project, University of Virginia’s College at Wise is struggling “to transform Central Appalachia into a leading model for rural community health throughout the world.http://www.healthyappalachia.org/files/photos/AnnualReportSWVaFY14.FINAL_.DRAFT%208132014%20editsPL.pdf
The Healthy Appalachia Institute has created an outdoor recreation plan called “Health is Right Outside” that combines health and economic goals.

Apr 2013. The fourteenth  Remote Area Medical (RAM) and LAMP (Lions Assisted Medical Project)  Mission to Wise, Virginia will occur this July on the 19th, 20th and 21st (Friday, Saturday  and Sunday).  It is sponsored by several organizations including VOSH (eye doctors), The Health Wagon (local medical services), Remote Area Medical and Lions Clubs.  Wise is in southwest Virginia in the Appalachian Mountains.  The people we will be seeing have limited access to eye, dental and health care.  The mission is to provide as much eye, medical and dental care possible in a long week-end.  In 2012, seen were a total of 5,046 patient visits including 994 eye exams and glasses, 1,306 dental visits (3359 teeth extracted plus fillings, etc.) and 2,619 medical visits. If you would like to see a few photos, click on this New York Times Magazine Photo Essay from the 2007 event.  You can also visit the RAM website at www.ramusa.org
If you would like to participate this year, please use the attached form for Lions volunteering to work.  Non-medical volunteers are very important, esp. in the many services necessary to register and manage patients.  Wise is about as far as you can travel from District 24-D and still be in Virginia, but the experience can be life-changing and may help you become a Lion in your heart.  Places to stay will be limited by this time of year, but there are motels in the area including those in Norton.  There may be some rooms at the UVA-Wise dorms for a small fee - please contact Julie Scott for more information,  mailto: jba4f@uvawise.edu or jba4f@uvawise.edu. Travel there is usually on Thursday to arrive for a volunteer orientation around 5pm at the Wise Fairgrounds where the event is held.  This year the 24-D Sight and Hearing Unit will not travel, but there will be others from Virginia districts.
POC: Lion John Watters,  District 24-D Sight Chair, (757) 496-3684 Home  (757) 348-8352 Cell

Feb 2010. Lion Nancy Watters, Thalia’s Secretary (2009-2012), wrote the following very heart warming article published in the 24D Knight’s Vision Newsletter for Feb 2010 under the monthly column “The Day I Became a Lion." See http://www.lions-of-virginia-24d.org/uploads/knights_vision_0210.pdf

The Day I Became a Lion
I met Dooley for the first time about 6:15 a.m. on a hot, steamy July morning on the fairground of Wise County Virginia. He was sitting on the back row in a very crowded make shift eye clinic waiting area in hopes of being seen by one of the volunteer optometrists or ophthalmologists most of whom would not arrive until at least 7:00a.m. Over a hundred had gathered for free service offered by the Remote Area Medical Project, sponsored heavily by the Lions of Virginia. I actually came to the project only because I was dating one of the ophthalmologists and had agreed to participate with him. I knew he was dedicated to Lionism but I was not sure that I wanted the responsibility or commitment. John and I arrived first on the scene. Looking out at the crowd, I said "What am I suppose to do?" John looked back at me, "I have to go inside and set up the equipment, see if you can get this group organized." After almost 30 years of teaching school, this seemed like a piece of cake. I immediately started giving people numbers, taking their names, and assuring them that the doctors would be in soon and they would receive service. I assumed that I was right and they actually believed me. Just as planned, the other doctors came in. Dr. Vicki Weiss, the optometrist in charge, opened the clinic. The first patient was called. To my surprise, everyone in the clinic moved up one chair.....it was their custom that whoever was in the chair closest to the door was called and each person then moved up one place. Almost in mass, I saw 100 people get up and move over one seat. In amazement I said, "Wait! Wait! You do not have to move, I will call your number! A very unhappy rumble rolled through the crowd and I heard a voice, "we're afraid we'll lose our place!" As I tried to assure everyone that the system would work and that there would be less inconvenience for them, they seemed unimpressed. I just couldn't understand why they all wanted to move, some with heavy bags in preparation for staying all day or longer, some with small children and strollers, and some with obvious disabilities. Then on the back row, I saw an older gentleman stand up. "Give that gal a chance!" he said. "I think she knows what she's doin'!" Reluctantly, they settled down and as the morning progressed they watched the simple system work. Just because new people came in later and sat in the front chairs, did not mean that those people would be seen first. The system worked and I had made a friend. As I thanked Dooley for supporting the idea, he warmly chuckled, "Everybody ought to have a chance to mess up." He had more questions for me that I had time to ask him. Where did I come from, what did I do in real life, and was I married. Dooley was there for eye and dental care. He was very concerned about getting through the eye clinic in time to have someone look at his teeth. I did my best to get him in as quickly as possible but it was almost lunchtime before Dooley's number was called. An hour or so later Dooley had finished his eye exam and was off for the dental clinic. The day was hot, the lines were endless and the pace was hectic. By four o'clock I had long forgotten about Dooley and I was putting out the fires of unrest in the eye clinic waiting area. By then many people had begun to realize that the hour was late and that they would not be seen that day. It was a true dilemma for many of them because they had left jobs, or had traveled many miles and this was their only opportunity for medical care. As I am explaining the process for the following morning for those who could return, I felt a gentle tap on the shoulder. There was Dooley, bigger than life with a mouth full of gauze and a smile from ear to ear. He was mouthing something that I finally determined was "came back to thank you!" "Dooley," I said, "How many teeth have you had pulled?" He held up ten fingers, ten fingers again, and then eight more. Twenty eight teeth and he was walking, smiling, and coming back to thank ME!! Beaming with gratitude he reached to give me a hug. In spite of all I could do, I turned into a Lion that day. I left Wise County that weekend totally exhausted and totally committed to becoming part of an organization that changes peoples' lives. That was four years ago. I became a Lion and married John, in that order. We have returned to Wise Co. every July since then for the Remote Area Medical Project and every year I keep out an eye for Dooley.
Lion Nancy Watters Thalia Lions Club.

Project Homeless Connect
Each year in September Project Homeless Connect turns Norfolk Scope's basement into a one-day, mega service site to help homeless adults connect to resources and receive services. The 24D District Lions provide the Sight and Hearing Van (driven into the underground Scope gargantuan facility) for diabetes, eye, and hearing screening. Reconditioned reading glasses are given out and contact information is provided for those requiring follow-up diabetes, eye, and hearing care. Besides these Lion services Homeless Connect provides medical treatment; nail and foot care and cleaning; substance abuse, mental health, and legal counseling; food stamp and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) sign ups; and employment, job training, and housing information. At lunch time a wholesome meal is provided – all free of charge.

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