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About 1,500 clinical and nonclinical volunteers worked around the clock for 36 hours during SC Mission 2011: Midlands, including Dr. Edward Herschaft, DDS who lives in Las Vegas, NV.

Herschaft heard about the event from Health Promotions Specialists, which also participated in the event. He is currently a professor at the University of Nevada – Las Vegas School of Dental Health. He is a Professor Emeritus at the Medical University of South Carolina College of Dental Medicine, where he completed a residency in oral and maxillofacial pathology.

SC Mission 2011: Midlands was a free two-day free clinic that provided medical, eye and dental care services to underserved and uninsured adults on a first-come, first-served basis. Behavioral health services, sexually transmitted disease counseling, mobile mammography and HIV testing were also available.

The volunteers committed several hours to the event providing both clinical and nonclinical skills. Nurses filled up one section of the concourse with tables in the medical triage area to assess patients before they moved along to see the many physicians that were in another section of the concourse of the Coliseum.

“It’s a little overwhelming,” one volunteer said as she sat near the window watching the patients make their way through the chains outside on the first day.

As one of the 1,500 volunteers, I agree that it seemed a bit overwhelming at times. The night before SC Mission 2011: Midlands opened its doors, I went back to the Coliseum after dinner so that I could visit with the people who had been camping out before I went to sleep. At that time, there were about 50 people who shared their stories about why they had planned on sitting outside all night long to ensure that they would receive care in all three service areas.

When I returned at 4 a.m., the line was extremely long with several hundred people waiting to receive care. It only continued to grow as we approached 6 a.m. as the doors were to officially open.

I remember what the line looked like at SC Mission 2010: Greenville. The line at the Carolina First Center in Greenville had nothing on this line at the Coliseum.

Jennifer Moore, a general volunteer on August 6 worked near the front door  after the doors opened. Throughout the morning she shared her thoughts on Twitter:

  • at 5: 39 a.m. “#SCMission2011 Working the registration table with a steady stream of volunteers coming in”
  • at 6:17 a.m “#SCMission2011 Outside now and the line is forming. People sleeping inside still waiting for dental from yesterday”
  • at 7 a.m. “#SCMission2011 The partners, volunteers, and medical professionals are amazing! Line is around the building now”
  • at 8:19 a.m. “#SCMission2011 Medical line moving fast – dental and vision full for entire day”
  • at 11:34 a.m. “#SCMission2011 Eye opening experience today. Some slept on the floor all night waiting on dental -families w/ small kids – dedicated vols.”

“At first I walked through dental around 6 a.m. and saw dozens of people sleeping on the floor waiting for care,” she said. “I started tearing up when I walked through area. And then I saw the families with small children waiting. I have a 6-year-old and 3-year-old and couldn’t imagine doing that. SC Mission 2011 really showed the gaps in healthcare we have as a community.”