It’s no secret that Remote Area Medical (RAM) is one of our favorite organizations. The traveling free clinic provides free medical, dental and vision care to thousands of people who would not otherwise be able to afford care each year. But we’ve often wondered, how did RAM get started? Well, CNN went right to the source, former “Wild Kingdom” host Stan Brock:
Today, Brock said, people still come up to him and say “I grew up watching you on ‘Wild Kingdom’ ” or “I became a wildlife biologist or a marine biologist because of watching you on ‘Wild Kingdom.’ ”
But even though his new job made him well-known and allowed him to travel all over the world, he never forgot where he came from.
“I understand what it’s like to be penniless, homeless and uninsured,” Brock said, referring to his cowboy roots.
His nonprofit started as a strictly overseas venture, helping the needy in hard-to-reach places. Volunteers would fly into remote regions, sometimes parachuting in, to aid people who didn’t have access to medical care.
Brock says it wasn’t long, however, before he started to get requests for aid in the United States. The first request came in 1992 from Hancock County, a small, rural area in Tennessee. The local hospital had closed, and its only dentist had just left.
“We went up to Hancock County, and there were 100 to 150 people wanting their teeth fixed,” said Brock. “We took care of them, (and) it wasn’t more than another week before I got the same request from the next county over.”
Soon, Brock said, they were so busy in the United States that the group had to cut back on overseas commitments to meet obligations at home.
More than 70,000 people have donated their time and expertise to Brock’s cause over the years. Many are full-time doctors and nurses who work at their own practices or hospitals during the week and then volunteer on the weekend. Remote Area Medical, or RAM, runs about 25 clinics a year, serving hundreds of patients at a time.
Well, we can only take our hat off to Stan Brock who has helped thousands get the medical care they dearly need. He has been an inspiration to this website and all we do!
Is there a healthcare hero in your neighborhood? Tell us about it in our discussion forums!
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