Once a year (and for an entire week) the Texas State Guard, Texas Department of Human Services, and hundreds of local service groups and volunteers, joined forces to bring free medical services to communities in our region. This annual opportunity, known as Operation Lone Star (OLS), offered dental, vision, immunization, diabetic screenings, physical exams, and more – free of charge to the public.
Last week, Palmview High School once again served as a host site for individuals of all ages from our area (and neighboring towns) that were in need of health services. On the daily, hundreds of people lined outside the school, early in the morning, waiting to be seen by specialists – a first for some who attended.
“We are very grateful to have had OLS here in our district. Witnessing first hand the enormous amount of people who are in need of medical services is definitely an eye opener. This opportunity might be the only medical care these families get throughout the year,” stated Blanca E. Cantu PIO for La Joya ISD.
For 16 years now, OLS has set up services in locations along the Texas-Mexico border from Laredo to Brownsville. The chief driving force behind OLS is to plan, prepare, and practice for a major disaster. State and local volunteers train and work to provide care to the masses, which serves both as an exercise for a real life-threating event, and also to provide medical
care to those who need it.
Along with serving the communities in South Texas, OLS also allows local emergency responders the opportunity to practice quick clinic setups and patient care, just as they would in the event of a health emergency.
The clinics are a cooperative effort of DSHS and other state health and human services agencies, Cameron County Department of Health and Human Services, Hidalgo County Health and Human Services, City of Laredo Health Department, Texas Military Forces, Remote Area Medical Volunteer Corps and community volunteer groups.