Volunteers fuel SC Mission effort

August 1, 2013 

Eugene Carter, left, of Columbia, gets his blood pressure taken by clinical volunteer and registered nurse Freda Armstrong during the SC Mission 2012 at the State Fairgrounds.

GERRY MELENDEZ — gmelendez@thestate.com Buy Photo

  • SC Mission Midlands 2013 consumer tips

    When? Care will be provided 6 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday and 6 a.m.-noon Saturday.

    Where? The State Fairgrounds, at Assembly Street and Rosewood Drive. Enter the parking lot at Gate 6. If you want to be among the first in line, the parking lot opens at 5 a.m. each day.

    Who can go? Anyone age 17 or older.

    What about the heat? The only outdoor waiting will be for those who arrive before the gates open. Once through the turnstiles, everyone will be directed to the waiting area in the air-conditioned Ellisor Building.

    How to avoid crowds? The busiest times last year were early in the morning. If you are seeking medical care, there were shorter waits later in the day last year. The eye care services remained busy throughout the day last year, so you probably should arrive early to ensure eye care.

    What about food? If you arrive during one of the service bottlenecks, you might be in for a long wait. Bring your own snacks. There are water fountains and rest rooms in the Ellisor Building.

    Does eye care include free glasses? Yes, but you will have to pick them up the following week at the county health clinic.

    What about prescriptions? Some free medications will be available with prescriptions on site.

    What else is offered? Mammograms, pap smears, physical therapy, occupational therapy

When hundreds of people in need of health care services flock to the S.C. State Fairgrounds Friday and Saturday for SC Mission 2013 Midlands, they will be met by hundreds of people who volunteered to help them.

Most have health care experience as doctors, nurses, technicians or social workers. Some — like Chuck Lange — just offer to help in any way they can.

Lange, president of Lange Moving Systems, happened to be seated at a table with SC Mission steering committee chair Barbara Willm at a recent Lexington Chamber of Commerce meeting. Willm, vice president of community relations at Lexington Medical Center, made her standard plea for help for the mission effort.

“I’ll be happy to help,” Lange said. “I can’t write a big check, but we’ve got trucks.”

Two Lange Moving trucks and crews spent Thursday moving X-ray machines, ultrasound machines and cots from local hospitals and clinics to the fairgrounds. They’ll be back at work after the event taking everything back to the hospitals and clinics.

Community-minded companies, along with the United Way, are the heart of SC Mission, which gets no direct government funding. They build the temporary infrastructure in buildings offered rent-free by the non-profit that operates the fairgrounds. Clinical personnel volunteer their time.

That allows SC Mission to offer free care to the uninsured and underinsured. This year, medical and eye care are available. Non-narcotics prescriptions will be provided when necessary. People with dental care needs will be directed to the S.C. Dental Association’s Dental Access Days Aug. 23-24 in North Charleston.

Patients will be seen on a first-come, first-served basis from 6 a.m-6 p.m. Friday and 6 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday. Each patient also will receive information about free health services in their county. No documentation or identification is necessary to receive services.

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