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    Sanadora Soldiers and Sailors bring sight to Puerto Rico communities

    Innovative Readiness Training Ola de Esperanza Sanadora 2018

    Photo By 1st Lt. Francine St Laurent | U.S. Navy Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Emily Fowler and Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class...... read more read more



    Story by 1st Lt. Francine St Laurent 

    Alaska National Guard Public Affairs

    GUAYNABO, Puerto Rico — An auditorium is where the magic is happening for many Puerto Ricans this week, but they may not see it.

    For those receiving optical care in the eight-day Innovative Readiness Training Ola de Esperanza Sanadora taking place at four community locations, their heroes might very well be the team of U.S. Army optical laboratory specialists and U.S. Navy opticians who are manufacturing glasses in an off-site makeshift lab.

    Two members of the team are assigned to Joint Base Langley-Eustis MEDDAC, and five are stationed with Naval Ophthalmic Support and Training Activity, the largest eyewear fabrication lab in the Department of Defense. With a staff upward of 200, NOSTRA manufactures corrective lenses for active duty service members, retirees, contractors and public service employees.

    Each optician is trained in all steps of fabrication but together they man their stations with practiced speed and efficiency. In one day, this fast-paced team built approximately 150 pairs of glasses.

    At home, Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Brok Frederick and Army Specialist Natasha Crague have even made their own glasses. Opticians enter their prescriptions in the system the same as for any service member, but when they clock in they’re able to process their own eyewear.

    “If you never do it you’d think it’s the craziest thing, but it’s every day for us,” said Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Justin Kohn, who has been an optician for six years.

    Kohn started wearing glasses in fourth grade.

    “When I was younger and I got glasses finally it was kind of like, ‘Everything’s clear. What’s going on?’ ” he said. “They’re going through the same thing, especially some of these bigger prescriptions and they can actually see finally. It’s pretty amazing.”

    Tucked away in an auditorium, most of these Sailors and Soldiers won’t watch patients don their specs and view the world anew in this mission.

    “If someone hasn’t been able to see, or they’ve seen blurry their whole life, and you get to give them something that helps them see clearly it’s a good feeling,” Kohn said.

    At this pace, the final count could be more than a thousand.

    Innovative Readiness Training Ola de Esperanza Sanadora is a health care training mission involving more than 200 Sailors, Soldiers and Airmen from the Air National Guard, U.S. Navy Reserve, and active duty Army and Navy. Part of a long-running Defense Department initiative led by the Air National Guard, this mission is operating in four clinic locations in Cataño, Guaynabo, Humacao and Yabucoa from Aug. 31 to Sept. 7.



    Date Taken: 09.02.2018
    Date Posted: 09.02.2018 20:06
    Story ID: 291235
    Location: GUAYNABO, PR 

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