The former AC Value Center building is busier than usual. People are lining up in the hopes of getting free medical care for themselves and their pets. And they’re getting that through Arctic Care 2017.
Arctic Care is a required training program for reserve and active duty members of the Air Force, Army, Navy, and Marine Corps. Kodiak Island is just one of the many locations for their collaborative missions, and this year their offerings include medical, dental, veterinary, and optometry care.
Active duty navy man Alex Robertson is handling eyewear downtown. He’s based out of Virginia and says he can make a pair of glasses in five minutes.
The speed might not be so necessary in Kodiak.
Other services are more in-demand this season. For instance, the vets have a full schedule.
But as for the people who do need to see him, Robertson says many of them haven’t gotten their eyes checked out for years. Once Robertson has a prescription in his hands, he can create the lenses and fit them into a frame on the spot.
On his side, it’s good training for the field.
“Back where I’m at in Yorktown, Virginia, it’s really computerized. You scan a bar code, it does everything for us. So this is more hands-on for us. This is the time we use the equipment we deploy with. It’s slower and, if you mess up, you have to start the whole process over again.”
Which is how it would be in whatever location he deploys to.
The Kodiak Area Native Association is responsible for Robertson and other medical professionals coming to Kodiak for the fifth time as part of Arctic Care. Each year, KANA identifies the community’s needs.
Major Anna Hill from Air Force Reserve Command explains the air force is leading the mission.
“What that means is that we are responsible for bringing all the capabilities to bear to support the mission. Much of that involves working with KANA to identify what type of medical services they want to bring and that can vary from community. We have veterinarian service here obviously, but that’s just an example of a high demand need here.”
For example, Arctic Care is offering oral surgery at the Mill Bay Clinic this year.
Arctic Care began Tuesday for the city and Wednesday for the villages and continues until April 6 for the city and April 5 for the villages.