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Operation Lone Star

Texas State Guard Army Capt. Jodie Smith inoculates a young resident to fulfill her school required immunizations she would otherwise not receive at Operation Lone Star held at Dr. Javier Saenz Middle School, Penitas, Texas, July 29, 2009. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech Sgt. Charles Hatton)

Texas State Guard Army Capt. Jodie Smith inoculates a young resident to fulfill her school required immunizations she would otherwise not receive at Operation Lone Star held at Dr. Javier Saenz Middle School, Penitas, Texas, July 29, 2009. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech Sgt. Charles Hatton)

U.S. Army Major General Jose S. Mayorga, Texas Adjutant General is greeted by Dr. Brian Smith and U.S. Army Colonel Rick Noriega after arriving at McAllen Regional Airport enroute to Operation Lone Star VIP/Media Day at Pharr-San Juan-Alamo High School in Pharr, Texas. PSJA High School was also a designated site for Operation Lone Star.  Operation Lone Star is a Joint Civilian/Military Medical mission offering free Medical care to the region. Pharr,Texas, 30 July 2009.(USAF Photo by Master Sgt. Michael Lachman)

U.S. Army Major General Jose S. Mayorga, Texas Adjutant General is greeted by Dr. Brian Smith and U.S. Army Colonel Rick Noriega after arriving at McAllen Regional Airport enroute to Operation Lone Star VIP/Media Day at Pharr-San Juan-Alamo High School in Pharr, Texas. PSJA High School was also a designated site for Operation Lone Star. Operation Lone Star is a Joint Civilian/Military Medical mission offering free Medical care to the region. Pharr,Texas, 30 July 2009.(USAF Photo by Master Sgt. Michael Lachman)

Veronica Garcia from South Texas College nursing program volunteers her time to help those in need at Operation Lone Star held at Raymond High School July 27, 2009. (U.S. Air Force photo by  Tech Sgt Hatton)

Veronica Garcia from South Texas College nursing program volunteers her time to help those in need at Operation Lone Star held at Raymond High School July 27, 2009. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech Sgt Hatton)

Veronica Garcia from South Texas College nursing program volunteers her time to help those in need at Operation Lone Star held at Raymond High School July 27, 2009. (U.S. Air Force photo by  Tech Sgt Hatton)

Veronica Garcia from South Texas College nursing program volunteers her time to help those in need at Operation Lone Star held at Raymond High School July 27, 2009. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech Sgt Hatton)

Team Czech Republic, (L to R) Warrant Officer Jana Hanikova, Warrant Officer Marika Bilkova, Warrant Officer Jana Hornickova, 1st Lt. Suataua Pribylova and 1st Lt. Petra Matulkova worked with the Texas Medical Command as Medical students and observed physcians during Operation Lone Star at Raul A. Besteiro Jr. Middle School.  Operation Lone Star is a Joint Civilian/Military Medical mission offering free Medical and Dental care to the region. Brownsville,Texas, 28 July 2009.(USAF Photo by Master Sgt. Michael Lachman)

Team Czech Republic, (L to R) Warrant Officer Jana Hanikova, Warrant Officer Marika Bilkova, Warrant Officer Jana Hornickova, 1st Lt. Suataua Pribylova and 1st Lt. Petra Matulkova worked with the Texas Medical Command as Medical students and observed physcians during Operation Lone Star at Raul A. Besteiro Jr. Middle School. Operation Lone Star is a Joint Civilian/Military Medical mission offering free Medical and Dental care to the region. Brownsville,Texas, 28 July 2009.(USAF Photo by Master Sgt. Michael Lachman)

South Texas --      Operation Lone Star, which provided health care to more than 11,000 South Texas residents in just two weeks last year, is expanding this summer to provide free health clinics in even more locations. 
     Military personnel, state and county officials and hundreds of volunteers will provide free health services at locations in Brownsville, Raymondville, Lasara, San Juan, La Joya, Laredo, Hebbronville, Rio Grande City and Zapata this year.
     The two-week event is a joint project of the state health and human services agencies, Texas State Guard, Army and Air National Guard, county health departments, local service groups and civilian volunteers. Operation Lone Star covers seven counties and is the largest humanitarian effort of its kind in the United States.
     "People turn out for free medical services, and we also tell them about state programs that will provide year-round access to health care," said Texas Health and Human Services Executive Commissioner Albert Hawkins. "Operation Lone Star provides us with an excellent way to reach out to Texans who can benefit from our services."
     State health and human services workers will provide information about health and wellness programs to prevent substance abuse, help people with disabilities and protect vulnerable children and adults. Local nonprofit organizations also will have staff available to provide information about their services.
     "Every year, we see thousands of people along the border take advantage of this program," said Leonel Vela of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. "For some, it may be their only visit with a doctor all year. That means the information about state services could ultimately be as important to these families as the medical care they receive."
     Operation Lone Star also serves as a way for state and local officials to train for a medical emergency. Setting up the two-week, multi-site clinics becomes a real-time exercise on how to respond to a public health crisis.
     Operation Lone Star sites will provide care from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday. For more information, call 2-1-1.