RAM clinic provides hope to those needing health care | News
(WBIR) A new pair of eyeglasses or a cleaning at the dentist may be things you find part of your regular health routine. However, for others, the chance to see a doctor can be nearly impossible.
Hundreds of people stood outside for hours in Chilhowee Park Saturday morning to attend Remote Area Medical's Knoxville clinic. These events are valuable for many here in East Tennessee.
David Williams was one of the many, experiencing his first trip to a RAM event.
"I'm not able to afford glasses on my income," said Williams, "It is the perfect opportunity to be able to receive glasses."
The clinic gives him and other patients access to free medical, dental and vision care. For many who can't afford insurance coverage, the clinic is their only option.
"It's helped us out tremendously," said Williams, " Without this it would be another year before we were able to afford glasses."
Williams went through the steps of an eye exam, and eagerly awaited his first pair of eyeglasses.
"They said we should be leaving with some frames today, so I'm excited for that." he said.
RAM relies on volunteers to make events like this happen. Doctors, college students, and churches all lend a helping hand. Vision volunteer Chelsea Gray has been with Ram for the past 5 years.
"We don't care what your situation is," said Gray, "If you can't afford it, we are going to help you, either way, bottom line."
Working the clinic has given her a chance to help change someone's life.
"It's amazing, most of the people that come here they've never seen an eye doctor before. Some have gone 50-60 years without a pair of glasses and they may have needed them since they were five or six years old." said Gray.
Barbara Arter credits the event's success to the heart and soul of the volunteers.
"I love the fact that they get up early in the morning and give us services," said Arter,
It's a visit she looks forward to each year.
"I come back every time, if I need a pair of glasses or some medical attention, whatever, they take care of you."
RAM will host clinics across the country this year. Some are schedule in Virginia, Missouri, Nevada and other states that allow medical professionals to volunteer their services for free.
The group will have several other events in the Tennessee area.
March 21-22: Sevierville, TN
Smokies' Stadium, 3540 Line Drive Kodak, TN 37764
April 11-12: Clinton, TN
First Baptist Church, 225 N Main Street Clinton, TN 37716
May 1-3: Bristol, TN
Bristol Motor Speedway: 151 Speedway Blvd. Bristol, TN 37620
June 6-7: Harrogate, TN
Lincoln Memorial University: 6965 Cumberland Gap Pkwy Harrogate, TN 37752
June 13-14: Loudon, TN
Loudon High School: 1039 Mulberry Street Loudon, TN 37774