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ANG Airmen, Sailors enhance Louisiana childrens' eyesight

Tech. Sgt. Michelle Reed, 153rd Medical Group optometry technician, watches the joy a Lighthouse Christian Academy student has after she gives a pair of glasses to him during Cajun Care 2014 in Abbeville, La., March 6, 2014. Air National Guard and Navy personnel visited the school to examine the students' and teachers' eyes, and later returned with glasses for all who needed them. (Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Andrea F. Liechti)

Tech. Sgt. Michelle Reed, 153rd Medical Group optometry technician, watches the joy a Lighthouse Christian Academy student has after she gives a pair of glasses to him during Cajun Care 2014 in Abbeville, La., March 6, 2014. Air National Guard and Navy personnel visited the school to examine the students' and teachers' eyes, and later returned with glasses for all who needed them. (Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Andrea F. Liechti)

A Lighthouse Christian Academy student tries on her new glasses during Cajun Care 2014 in Abbeville, La., March 6, 2014. Air National Guard and Navy personnel visited the school to examine the students' and teachers' eyes, and later returned with glasses for all who needed them. (Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Andrea F. Liechti)

A Lighthouse Christian Academy student tries on her new glasses during Cajun Care 2014 in Abbeville, La., March 6, 2014. Air National Guard and Navy personnel visited the school to examine the students' and teachers' eyes, and later returned with glasses for all who needed them. (Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Andrea F. Liechti)

Lula Latigue, Lighthouse Christian Academy office manager, tries on her new glasses during Cajun Care 2014 in Abbeville, La., March 6, 2014. Air National Guard and Navy personnel visited the school to examine the students' and teachers' eyes, and later returned with glasses for all who needed them. (Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Andrea F. Liechti)

Lula Latigue, Lighthouse Christian Academy office manager, tries on her new glasses during Cajun Care 2014 in Abbeville, La., March 6, 2014. Air National Guard and Navy personnel visited the school to examine the students' and teachers' eyes, and later returned with glasses for all who needed them. (Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Andrea F. Liechti)

Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Ana Chacon, Operational Health Support Group San Diego optometry technician, adjusts a Lighthouse Christian Academy student’s new glasses during Cajun Care 2014 in Abbeville, La., March 6, 2014. Air National Guard and Navy personnel visited the school to examine the students' and teachers' eyes, and later returned with glasses for all who needed them. (Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Andrea F. Liechti)

Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Ana Chacon, Operational Health Support Group San Diego optometry technician, adjusts a Lighthouse Christian Academy student’s new glasses during Cajun Care 2014 in Abbeville, La., March 6, 2014. Air National Guard and Navy personnel visited the school to examine the students' and teachers' eyes, and later returned with glasses for all who needed them. (Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Andrea F. Liechti)

Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Ana Chacon, Operational Health Support Group San Diego optometry technician, gives a pair of glasses to one of the Lighthouse Christian Academy students during Cajun Care 2014 in Abbeville, La., March 6, 2014. Air National Guard and Navy personnel visited the school to examine the students' and teachers' eyes, and later returned with glasses for all who needed them. (Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Andrea F. Liechti)

Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Ana Chacon, Operational Health Support Group San Diego optometry technician, gives a pair of glasses to one of the Lighthouse Christian Academy students during Cajun Care 2014 in Abbeville, La., March 6, 2014. Air National Guard and Navy personnel visited the school to examine the students' and teachers' eyes, and later returned with glasses for all who needed them. (Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Andrea F. Liechti)

Tech. Sgt. Michelle Reed, 153rd Medical Group optometry technician, gives a pair of glasses to one of the Lighthouse Christian Academy teachers during Cajun Care 2014 in Abbeville, La., March 6, 2014. Air National Guard and Navy personnel visited the school to examine the students' and teachers' eyes, and later returned with glasses for all who needed them. (Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Andrea F. Liechti)

Tech. Sgt. Michelle Reed, 153rd Medical Group optometry technician, gives a pair of glasses to one of the Lighthouse Christian Academy teachers during Cajun Care 2014 in Abbeville, La., March 6, 2014. Air National Guard and Navy personnel visited the school to examine the students' and teachers' eyes, and later returned with glasses for all who needed them. (Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Andrea F. Liechti)

Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Ana Chacon, Operational Health Support Group San Diego optometry technician, adjusts a Lighthouse Christian Academy student’s new glasses during Cajun Care 2014 in Abbeville, La., March 6, 2014. Air National Guard and Navy personnel visited the school to examine the students' and teachers' eyes, and later returned with glasses for all who needed them. (Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Andrea F. Liechti)

Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Ana Chacon, Operational Health Support Group San Diego optometry technician, adjusts a Lighthouse Christian Academy student’s new glasses during Cajun Care 2014 in Abbeville, La., March 6, 2014. Air National Guard and Navy personnel visited the school to examine the students' and teachers' eyes, and later returned with glasses for all who needed them. (Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Andrea F. Liechti)

Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Ana Chacon, Operational Health Support Group San Diego optometry technician, gives a pair of glasses to one of the Lighthouse Christian Academy teachers during Cajun Care 2014 in Abbeville, La., March 6, 2014. Air National Guard and Navy personnel visited the school to examine the students' and teachers' eyes, and later returned with glasses for all who needed them. (Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Andrea F. Liechti)

Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Ana Chacon, Operational Health Support Group San Diego optometry technician, gives a pair of glasses to one of the Lighthouse Christian Academy teachers during Cajun Care 2014 in Abbeville, La., March 6, 2014. Air National Guard and Navy personnel visited the school to examine the students' and teachers' eyes, and later returned with glasses for all who needed them. (Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Andrea F. Liechti)

ABBEVILLE, La. -- Imagine an 8-year-old who is having a hard time in school. It is a challenge to see what the teacher puts on the blackboard. Reading out loud is embarrassing because the letters blend together and it is hard for him to distinguish between them. School is more of a struggle than it should be.

Now, imagine that same 8-year-old after a vision test. Imagine his excitement when he puts a new pair of glasses on. His world is instantly clearer. His newfound confidence is evident as he stands taller and smiles bigger. Who would have guessed a single pair of eye glasses would make all the difference?

Lula Latigue, Lighthouse Christian Academy office manager, knew what a single pair of eye glasses could do for the students. When she found out the Air National Guard and Navy were in town to help the people of Abbeville, La., she was eager to find out more.

"I know the parents' schedules," she said. "They are very busy, so I just wanted to make sure they had the opportunity to take advantage of the services you were giving."

Latigue stopped by the Cajun Care 2014 site and started asking just the right questions. Originally, she thought she would have to transport the children from school to the Cajun Care 2014 site, but after speaking with military personnel, she was pleasantly surprised.

"Someone suggested, let me check and see if we can come to you," she said. "That was great."

According to Tech. Sgt. Michelle Reed, 153rd Medical Group optometry technician, it would have been a challenge to have the kids come to the site, due to the volume of patients the optometry technicians were already seeing on a regular basis. It was much easier to send military personnel to the students.

Reed was one of three service members selected to go.

"We tested 34 students and 10 adults at the school," she said.

Out of those 34 students, 12 needed eye glasses, and out of the 10 adults, five needed glasses.

"I never imagined we'd make this big of a difference in these peoples' lives," Reed said. "What we're doing here, Navy and Air Force together, is making a difference. We're giving people eyes to see."

The 115th Fighter Wing was one of 17 units that attended Cajun Care 2014 in Abbeville, La. With their ANG and Navy counterparts, they helped more than 3,000 Louisiana residents with their optometry, dental and healthcare needs.
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