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St. Joseph’s/Candler, Georgia Southern University support U.S. Military to help those in need of medical care

Georgia Southern University President Jaimie Hebert (third from right) is joined by St. Joseph’s/Candler President & CEO Paul P. Hinchey (far right), Lt. Col. Andrew Magnet (left of Hinchey) of the 165th Airlift Wing of the Georgia Air National Guard, Garden City Mayor Don Bethune (left of Hebert), Savannah Mayor Eddie DeLoach (left of Bethune) and Savannah Mayor Pro Tem Carol Bell (far left) to announce Operation Empower Health – Greater Savannah at the Georgia Southern Armstrong campus Wednesday.

Thousands of people in need of medical care can receive it at no-cost in May during Operation Empower Health – Greater Savannah, a U.S. Military exercise supported by St. Joseph’s/Candler and Georgia Southern University.

Troops from all over the United States will deploy to Savannah and set up medical, dental, vision and veterinary services in four key locations from May 10-18. It will be the 2018 flagship exercise of the Department of Defense’s annual Innovative Readiness Training Program.

The goal is to not only provide valuable training for the military, but to give important medical services to those in southeast Georgia who might not otherwise have access.

“Operation Empower Health – Greater Savannah provides our service members with unique, real-world training opportunities to prepare for military missions at home and abroad,” said Lt. Col. Andrew Magnet of the 165th Medical Group of the 165th Air Lift Wing of the Georgia Air National Guard. “This IRT mission will bring our total force together, as Active Duty, Reserve and National Guard Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines from across the country employ their respective areas of military expertise to plan and conduct training, and refine mission essential skills.”

Knowing the need in the community for these services, St. Joseph’s/Candler and Georgia Southern University jointly applied to bring the training to Savannah. Key partners in Operation Empower Health are the City of Savannah, Garden City and Savannah State University, all of which will be providing space for the medical services as well as a place for the troops to bed down and eat.

“We are very grateful to the U.S. Military for selecting Savannah for this training,” said Paul P. Hinchey, President & CEO of St. Joseph’s/Candler. “It is estimated that between 20 and 25 percent of all residents of Chatham County are underinsured or uninsured. And, while St. Joseph’s/Candler has been striving for years to improve access to care through our many outreach programs – the need is still great. While the military will be providing the core medical services, St. Joseph’s/Candler will be working with those served to make sure they get the follow up care they need or bring them into a medical home for the long term.”

Magnet, Hinchey and Dr. Jaimie Hebert, President of Georgia Southern University announced the event during a press conference on the Armstrong campus Wednesday.

“Georgia Southern has always had a vested interest and involvement in Savannah, but now more than ever we are demonstrating our commitment to this community in real and measurable ways. My sincere thanks goes out to all of the Savannah community and the Department of Defense and our men and women of the armed forces, who will be providing this service to our community. I’m thrilled that our students in the health professions are going to be serving alongside our military — applying the hands-on skills and knowledge that they have learned during their education at Georgia Southern.”

Savannah’s 165th Airlift Wing is the lead unit. All branches of the military are involved in this year’s IRT mission including the Army Reserve’s 3d Medical Command out of Atlanta, Multifunctional Medical Battalion out of Savannah, the Navy’s Eyeglasses fabrication unit out of Virginia and the Marine Corps Forces Reserves 4th Dental Battalion out of New Orleans.

Innovative Readiness Training is a U.S. military training opportunity that provides real-life deployment training and readiness for military personnel while addressing public and civil-society needs. The military services have always brought to bear their resources to help meet some of the country’s civil needs. With IRT, the Department of Defense realizes simultaneous benefits from military training and readiness while providing quality services to communities throughout the country.

For more information for the community, please call 912-819-5300 or visit

When: May 10-18

Hours: Services begin at 8 a.m. Last patients should be checked in at 4 p.m.

Savannah Civic Center, 301 W. Oglethorpe Avenue
Georgia Southern University – Armstrong Campus, University Hall, 11935 Abercorn Street
Garden City Recreational Department, 160 Priscilla D. Thomas Road
Savannah State University, Social Sciences Building, 3219 College Street

Services offered:
Physical exams
Sports exams
Patient education


Eye exams
Fabrication of glasses

General exams
Spay/neuter (only at Civic Center)
Rabies vaccinations

About the 165th Airlift Wing and IRT
The 165th Airlift Wing is co-located with the Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport in Savannah, Ga. It is composed of more than 1,400 Airmen who support, maintain and fly the unit’s eight C-130H3 Hercules aircraft.

Our vision is to provide mission ready Airmen to the Nation and the State of Georgia during times of need supporting both state and national objectives. We organize, train, and equip our Airmen to carry out missions compatible with our training to provide global airlift and mobilization readiness in support of humanitarian and contingency operations such as Hurricane Maria and Operation Enduring Freedom.

Innovative Readiness Training (IRT) is a Department of Defense (DoD) military training opportunity, exclusive to the United States and its territories, that delivers joint training opportunities to increase deployment readiness. Simultaneously, IRT provides key services with lasting benefits for our American communities.

About St. Joseph’s/Candler
St. Joseph’s/Candler is a 714-bed, Magnet-designated facility for nursing excellence, with a focus on the latest technologies and research. It is anchored by St. Joseph’s Hospital and Candler Hospital. Its comprehensive network includes centers of excellence for oncology, cardiovascular, neurosciences, women’s and children’s services, orthopedics, pulmonary medicine and a variety of other disease specialties. SJ/C’s Nancy N. and J.C. Lewis Cancer & Research Pavilion has been selected to be part of the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the NCI Community Oncology Research Program. St. Joseph’s Hospital and Candler Hospital is a not-for-profit health system serving 33 counties in southeast Georgia and three in the South Carolina Low Country and is the largest and only faith-based institution in the region. For more information, visit

About Georgia Southern University
Georgia Southern University, a public Carnegie Doctoral/Research institution founded in 1906, offers 142 degree programs serving more than 27,000 students through nine colleges on three campuses in Savannah, Statesboro, Hinesville and online instruction. A leader in higher education in southeast Georgia, the University provides a diverse student population with expert faculty, world-class scholarship and hands-on learning opportunities. Georgia Southern creates lifelong learners who serve as responsible scholars, leaders and stewards in their communities. Visit


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