NORWICH — The military calls it a training exercise, but the scores of medical personnel who will come to Cortland County next month are professionals.
The training exercise is the planning and coordination that gets them here.
“There are a lot of service members who you will never see,” Maj. Nathan DeVoe said Monday at a news conference about the Innovative Readiness Training exercise July 15 to July 24 at Homer Intermediate School. “It’s the same thing we would do if we were going overseas.”
The 10-day event will see scores of military medical practitioners providing medical, dental, optical and veterinary services, free of charge and with no proof of need, insurance or residency. It’s one of 10 such training exercises in America this year.
The events take two years of planning and coordination, DeVoe said at a news conference discussing the programs in both Cortland and Norwich. They involve professionals from all the military services, except the Coast Guard this year. They need to learn to work together, trade notes, compare needs and find a way to share skills and supplies.
The idea dates back to 1992, when then-President Bill Clinton called for the military to find ways to help domestic America. In this case, the military must train, the Department of Defense simply trains in a community with a need.
“It’s an awesome opportunity to give back to the community,” DeVoe said. “There’s more to the military than just going to war.”
And it helps thousands of people, more than 2,400 in Chenango County last year, when the event first came to Norwich.
“Many adults do not visit a dentist or an eye doctor on a regular basis,” said Elizabeth Monaco, the Chenango coordinator.
More than 9 percent are uninsured, Census data show. A total of 38 percent are underinsured, Monaco said.
Cortland is in a similar situation, said Eric Mulvihill, the Cortland event’s public information officer and clerk of the county Legislature.
Census data show 7.7 percent are uninsured.
While this is Cortland County’s first time hosting the military training, Chenango did it last year, and received nearly $1.4 million worth of medical and veterinary care.
Planners aren’t asking for a third year, said Caroline Quidort of Southern Tier East Regional Planning Board, one of the coordinating organizations.
And while the agency will probably apply for a training exercise in 2018, it’s likely to be in another of the eight counties that Southern Tier East supports.
“We’re all over the place. Where we go depends on which communities apply,” DeVoe said. “We’re not slated to come back. It’s unprecedented to come to a community two years in a row. We share the love.”
Make an appointment
Dental services include examinations, cleanings, fillings and simple extractions. Optometry services include vision tests, screening for cataracts, macular degeneration and glaucoma, and single-focal glasses made on-site.
Other medical services are available on a walk-in basis, including diabetes and blood pressure screenings, fall risk assessments, depression screening and lifestyle and nutrition counseling.
Veterinarian services will include spaying or neutering companion pets, as well as rabies vaccinations.
If you seek to make an appointment:
– Veterinary care: 607-344-0014 from 1 to 6 p.m. Tuesday to Friday and noon to 4 p.m. Saturday.
– Dental or optical services: 877-211-8667 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.
– Medical services do not require an appointment.
Or visit www.healthycortland.org