Delta Care Project nears end, serves nearly 3,000 people

Published 12:08am Friday, August 16, 2013

FERRIDAY — What some locals described as the best thing ever to happen to Ferriday is ending.

The Delta Care Project wraps up today after providing free medical, dental and optical care.

In addition to providing free care, the project also serves as real-world training for U.S. Army and Navy personnel.

Mayor Gene Allen and Concordia Parish Economic Development Director Heather Malone both said the project might be the best thing to happen to the Town of Ferriday.

A total of 2,946 people, from as far away as Monroe, received medical care from Aug. 8 through Wednesday with dental and optical care being the most popular, Commanding Officer and U.S. Army Maj. James Compliment said.

“A lot of people have basic medical care, but they may not have dental care,” Compliment said. “People told me now that they have gotten teeth pulled they can get dentures. I heard that a lot.”

Dental and optical care were so popular that Compliment was forced to cancel walk-in appointments several days after starting.

He projected that slightly more than 3,000 people would receive free care by today’s project end.

Malone said another important part of the project is education.

“They talked about diabetes and cholesterol levels and handed out educational pamphlets,” Malone said. “People can take those things and use them in their lives.”

Despite the tremendous benefit of The Delta Care Project, Malone said a lack of available appointments forced several thousand to be turned away.

“I’m disappointed that we couldn’t serve everyone,” she said. “It would be great if it could be longer because it was such a great thing.”

The project may have affected the area’s economy significantly too.

The Delta Care Project brought in 86 soldiers, which Compliment said generated additional revenue for local businesses.

“Just the hotel fare alone is significant during the time we have been here,” he said. “There is also eating and gas and trying all the local restaurants. There has definitely been a positive economic impact for this area.”