A one-of-a-kind Ronald McDonald Care Mobile came to Paducah December 11 and 12. It is equipped to give on location vision exams and provide glasses to children in need at no charge to them. The local chapter of Ronald McDonald House Charities hosted the unit that is based out of St. Louis, MO.
Dr. Mark Gillespie, Dr. Landon Meeks, and Dr. Greg Batts, all from The Ophthalmolgy Group in Paducah, volunteered on the Mobile as it visited McNabb, Morgan, and Clark Elementary Schools during school hours. The doctors conducted comprehensive eye exams and determined eyeglass prescriptions. The children then chose frames and an optician on board made the actual glasses.
According to Terry Burke, a technician with the Care Mobile, the mobile is unique in that it is the only mobile unit in the United States that has a lab on board to make glasses. He said the Mobile was specifically built to include a sound-proof component since the machinery for making glasses is extremely loud.
The children whom the Care Mobile served were pre-screened at their respective schools. Twenty-seven children were slated to visit the Mobile. According to Burke, these children had been identified as needing vision correction that required glasses. A stipulation of the program was that the child must qualify for free/reduced lunch.
Because of the Care Mobile, “These kids now have a brighter future,” said RMHS board member David Kincaid.
RMHC also partnered with KentuckyCares and Baptist Health to hold a clinic on the evening of December 11. Dr. Mark Owens and Dr. David Tucker, of Eyecare Associates of KY, volunteered services to see those patients.
“We are very appreciative because we could not offer this opportunity to the community without the generous help from these doctors,” said RMHC chapter president Mike Love. “We are so proud to have this Mobile visit Paducah on its first ever trip outside St. Louis.”
There are 49 Care Mobiles in operation worldwide providing medical or dental services to children. However, the unit visiting Paducah is the only one that provides vision care services. The Mobile debuted in the Spring of 2013 and served over 300 children thus far, not including those served during the Paducah visit. The Care Mobile program relies on donations for operating expenses and ongoing vehicle upkeep.
For more information on the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile program, contact the local Ronald McDonald House Charities chapter at 270 554 4002, ext.2
Ronald McDonald House Chapter President Mike Love with Board Member David Kincaid aboard the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile in Lone Oak on Tuesday, December 10th.