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NEWS | June 30, 2022

994th Dental Company delivers no-cost dental care to 1,500 people in Nueces County, Texas, as part of IRT

By 1st Lt. Harrison Gold 807th Medical Command (Deployment Support)

Approximately 1,400 of members of the public received dental care including teeth extractions, cleanings, and x-ray at no cost in Nueces County, Texas, as part of an Innovative Readiness Training (IRT) program.

Nueces County, Texas, hosted roughly 100 Marines and Army Soldiers for this IRT mission, which provided no-cost medical, optometry, dental, and veterinary care to the public while simultaneously offering Soldiers and Marines training opportunity. The IRT program stems from community requests for assistance from the Department of Defense, and then the Department of Defense then identifies military units who need training pertinent to the community requests. Here, the Nueces County Commissioner of Precinct 2, Joe A. Gonzalez identified a need for dental care for members of the community.

“There continues to be an extensive need for health services even considering the best efforts that we have provided with past clinics. The health care needs here in the region are great. We are most excited about the variety of services being offered for residents to be seen by a dentist, physician, and optometrist in one day is something we are immensely impressed by and ever grateful for,” according to Joe A. Gonzalez (JAG), Commissioner, Nueces County Precinct Two, one of the many stakeholders in requesting this IRT mission in Nueces County.

The 965th Dental Company (Area Support) from Seagoville, Texas, was identified for this training opportunity and mobilized 32 officers and enlisted personnel to provide dental evaluations, tooth extractions, and dental cleanings at three locations throughout the county, resulting in approximately: 1,400 unique dental patients, 1,200 dental X-rays performed, 1,000 extracted teeth and 700 cleanings.

“The people that come to see us are just so grateful for anything that we can do for them,” Specialist Blanca Balbino, a Preventive Dentistry Specialist of the 965th Dental Company (Area Support) states, “It’s really humbling being here and being able to help them.” Spc. Balbino’s dental clinic received patients that traveled up to two hours to receive dental care through this IRT mission. At this same location, Lieutenant Colonel Rex Monif, also of the 965th Dental Company (Area Support) incorporated additional dental equipment he donated to the local county health services in order to facilitate an expanded capability to serve patients in their dental needs.

The 965th Dental Company (Area Support) has provided roughly twice as many combined services of dental procedures to the local public in comparison to the previous year, as this is the second consecutive iteration of IRT in Nueces County. Locals have expressed their continued gratitude for everyone that has come out to help this community and hope to see this operation return.