News: San Antonio area Soldier helps brighten the smiles of local Romanians
Story by Pfc. Charles Thompson
MIHAIL KOGALNICEANU, Romania — A local San Antonio, Texas, native in the U.S. Army is spending his summer in Romania and Bulgaria as a dental technician helping local citizens as part of a Department of Defense-funded humanitarian civil assistance project.
Spc. Joseph D. Lewis, 27, an Army dental technician assigned to the 561st Medical Company in Grafenwoehr, Germany, is on a two-month deployment to Eastern Europe providing dental screenings and referrals to Romanian locals in a number of villages.
"The Romanian people have been very receptive to us being here," said Lewis. "I think this mission is great because we get to work with the locals and hopefully make a difference in their lives."
Lewis is taking part in a military exercise related to Joint Task Force-East, a bi-lateral (U.S.-Romanian and U.S.-Bulgarian) U.S. Army's European Command's mission where U.S. forces are training side-by-side with their host-nation military partners. This HCA mission is a part of the operations in these two countries designed to build relationships and facilitate regional theater security cooperation.
The HCA team, consisting of Romanian (and Bulgarian when they are in Bulgaria) military and civilian and U.S. service members, are providing medical, dental and optometry screenings, health education classes, and community health assessments for 18 small villages in Romania and Bulgaria through the end of October. As a dental technician, Lewis assisted an Army dentist in providing dental screenings and referrals for patients of all ages.
Lewis graduated from Hawkins High School in 2000 and attended St. Philips College from 2000-2001. His mother, Susie Lewis and other extended family members still reside in the San Antonio area.