60 Minutes profiles E. Tennessee's Remote Area Medical

By: Mike McCarthy
By: Mike McCarthy

KNOXVILLE (WVLT) -- An East Tennessee-based free medical service got to visit every home in America on Sunday night.

Back in January, CBS's 60 Minutes news magazine paid a visit to the Remote Area Medical treatment expedition in Knoxville's Chilhowee Park.

At the event, their cameras caught sight of the hope and health that are offered to the under insured and uninsured.

For more than 20 years, the volunteers who work with Knoxville-based Remote Area Medical have provided free eye, dental, and other medical care, for more than 350,000 patients.

Even with so many helped, the charity has remained a well kept secret.

"The only people who seem to know about us are the poor folks," said Stan Brock, founder of RAM.

That was until Sunday night, when 60 Minutes spread the word around the nation.

"We're very happy to hear from 60 Minutes," Brock said.

"It's such a wonderful opportunity to RAM," said Jean Jolly, a volunteer.

The exposure should help raise funds, even though Remote Area Medical would rather have the national spotlight on those who need their help.

"It focuses on the need for health care and health care changes," said Jolly, "and I hope that's picked up by the people who can make those changes."

RAM'S efforts aren't just limited to East Tennessee either, they send volunteers around the globe.

"We have a very big program that's open in the Amazon," said Brock, "and we have programs periodically in India and Africa."

Sixty percent of RAM's patients are in the US, and some drive hundreds of miles and wait for hours, just to receive care.

"We'd like to work ourselves out of a job, so that we're no longer needed," Brock said, "but I don't see that happening."

Ram's latest clinic pulled more than 1,000 teeth and saved more than 500 others with fillings.

Volunteers also made more than 500 pairs of glasses.

You can read more about Remote Area Medical by clicking on the link to their Website below.

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