Program Re-Cap: March 16, 2016
Though some may recognize him from Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom on television, Stan Brock has long since turned his star power and influence to more domestic matters. The “Barefoot Cowboy” cast aside his shoeless fame to put boots on the ground in some of America’s most remote regions, delivering free healthcare to the hardest to reach areas and citizens of the country.
Cashiers Rotarian Dr. Bill Mobley brought to life Brock’s story and dedication to helping those less fortunate during a presentation on RAM (Remote Area Medical), the organization founded by the former TV star. Dr. Mobley, a retired urologist who now calls Cashiers home, volunteers with RAM and spoke about how one man’s passion can, in fact, help change the world.
RAM provides free dental, vision and medical care to isolated, impoverish or underserved communities throughout the US. In an astonishing feat of operational know-how and unabashed philanthropy, the organization turns fairgrounds, schools, arenas and jungles into mobile medical centers in less than 24 hours.
The equipment is flown or trucked in by RAM’s transportation partners and the weekend-long clinics are staffed by hundreds of doctors, nurses, medical techs and volunteers from the community.
“The volunteers really are what make everything happen,” said Dr. Mobley, who has helped with the events that include more than 70 dental, vision and medical stations. “RAM can perform more than 1000 different medical check-ups and procedures in one weekend and people start lining up Friday night to receive a Saturday appointment. Whole families camp out together.”
For many of RAMs patients, the clinic is the only opportunity for medical care they’ll receive. Whether their obstacles are financial or geographical, many live in fear of sickness or injury because they have little or no access to basic medical care.
It’s that same fear that inspired Brock’s vision for RAM. He suffered a major personal injury while living among the Wapishana Indians in Guyana, South America and was 26-day journey away from medical care.
“When I left Guyana, I vowed to find a way to deliver basic medical aid to people in the world’s inaccessible regions,” says Brock.
After numerous clinics in Appalachian locations, RAM has decided to put additional focus on what is one of the poorest regions in our nation. The Stop the Suffering in Appalachia Initiative is a 2-year focus that aims to provide free quality healthcare to at least 90% of those living in what is known as the “Distressed Corridor.” RAM hopes the program will be a gateway to establishing RAM Affiliates based in Appalachian states to provide ongoing services and health care access beyond 2016.
Dr. Mobley stressed the importance of providing these services to address what is an overwhelming need of our neighbors and beyond.
“You don’t have to be a medical professional to help,” he said. “Restaurants, clothing stores, teachers, office workers… all have something to contribute.”
To learn more about RAM and the ways in which to volunteer for or support the Stop the Suffering in Appalachia Initiative, please visit RAMUSA.org.