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Residents signing up for free Ferriday health services

FERRIDAY — Parish officials say they are pleasantly surprised by the number of people interested in taking advantage of Uncle Sam’s free health care offer next month.

A total of 567 people have signed up for the Department of Defense’s Innovative Readiness Training at Central Louisiana Technical Community College’s Ferriday campus. The health care event takes place from Aug. 8-16.

Those interested in signing up can call Ferriday Town Hall to schedule an appointment, though walk-ins will be accepted. Volunteers can also sign up by calling the Concordia Parish Economic and Industrial Development Office.

The training will include medical, veterinary, dental and optical care. Medical services will include blood pressure, heart health and diabetes testing. Dental services will include dental exams, fluoride application and sealants. Optical services will include color blindness screening and glasses repair.

Patients will also be able to receive a free pair of prescription glasses.

Concordia Parish Economic Development director Heather Malone said 567 may not seem like a lot, but it’s more than she expected at this point.

“If one person takes advantage of four, then we would count that as four people served,” Malone said. “If the people signed up take advantage of four services, that’s about one third of our goal number. I’m actually pretty impressed by the number who have signed up.”

In addition to local residents, Parish and Ferriday officials are hoping to attract residents from Tensas and Catahoula parishes and Adams County.

“This is one of the best things to happen to Ferriday in a long time,” Mayor Gene Allen said. “We hope this will attract people from all the surrounding parishes and Adams County, maybe even as far as Alexandria.

Army Maj. James Compliment recommended patients make appointments, rather than simply showing up.

“We don’t want a large group of people to come on one day and everything coming to a screeching halt,” Compliment said during the event announcement in May.

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