Free Mobile Clinic Expanding Medical Care

Joe Vassallo is still nursing the wounds he received after being hit by debris during Katrina. Since his doctor moved away in Bay St. Louis, Vassallo turned to a free clinic on Espy Avenue.

"They treated me with respect, and gave me the best care possible," said Vassallo. "The Good Lord sends good people."

The clinic on wheels also moves to a FEMA trailer park in Hancock County once a week.

Jennifer Knight is the Project Manager for "Operation Assist."

"We want to get to the people that can't get to us. They don't have cars anymore. They don't have money."

The four doctors and two nurses see about 60 people a day.

"Right now, we'll see anybody, because everybody's in need of health care," said Knight. "But our eventual goal is to serve people 24 and under."

That's mainly children like three year old Eliaus Harris of Long Beach.

"I don't have medical coverage at this point and time," said his mom Rouie McCullough. "They say it's a free medical clinic, so I brought him over."

The nurses and doctors in the program want to reach even more children in the community. So, in about a month, the mobile clinic will park near schools in Pass Christian and Biloxi. And the staff is looking for more sites in Gulfport and Waveland.

That's welcome news for patients like Joe Vassallo, who won't have to travel too far for medical care.

Vassallo said, "This is a blessing. The good Lord sent these people here, and maybe one day I can give back to these people."

"Operation Assist" is sponsored by the Children's Health Fund and Coastal Family Health Center. Soon, the clinic will also offer mental health care.

If you can donate some space on your property to park the mobile clinic, or you believe there's a need for free medical care in your community, just call the project manager at 228-332-0330.