HomeNewsArticle Display

177th Airmen take part in Cajun Care 2014

A picture of U.S. Air Force Maj. Jason Winterbottom examining a child's eyes.

New Jersey Air National Guardsman Maj. Jason Winterbottom examines a child's eyes during a Cajun Care 2014 community outreach effort at the Lighthouse Christian Academy in Abbeville, La., Feb. 28. Winterbottom is participating in Cajun Care 2014, one of the Department of Defense's largest community outreach efforts in the Delta Region, is an Innovative Readiness Training mission designed to provide U.S. military medical professionals invaluable training as well as provide health care options to a medically underserved community. (U.S. Navy photo by Pett Officer 1st Class Bruce Cummins)

ABBEVILLE, La. -- 14 airmen from the 177th Medical Group are taking part in one of the largest Department of Defense community outreach efforts in the south, Cajun Care 2014. U.S. Navy and U.S. Air National Guard medical personnel will be providing free medical, dental, optometric, and pharmaceutical services to Abbeville, La. and its surrounding communities from Feb. 26 to March 6.

New Jersey Air National Guardsman and Cajun Care Mission Commander Lt. Col. Jamie Ruffing said although their primary mission is ensuring U.S. military medical professionals are able to rapidly establish a functional medical facility, the mission's benefits to the community cannot be understated.

"We will be working in a joint environment, learning each other's military culture and training for a mission which could happen anywhere at any time," she said. "Most importantly, however, we fully expect to become part of this community. This will be our home for two weeks, and the people of Abbeville and the surrounding communities will be our neighbors."

Cajun Care 2014 is a joint ANG/Navy Reserve Medical training mission serving the real world medical needs of the medically underserved residents of the Vermilion Parish in Abbeville, La.

"It's been extremely rewarding to help the community members here," said Master Sgt. Kara Kauffman, 177th Medical Group health systems technician. "They are so appreciative, it makes it all worthwhile."