Local leaders serve three communities through IRT Southern Care mission

May 01, 2014

This summer, three southern Illinois communities will serve as Innovative Readiness Training (IRT) mission sites, hosting medical professionals from U.S. Military Reserves. Through this partnership between DRA and the U.S. Department of Defense, servicemen and women will provide free medical, dental, and optical care to residents of these communities for ten days in late June.

To make these missions a true success, the involvement of local leaders in supporting these efforts is essential. In southern Illinois, leaders from each of the communities that will host this summer’s IRT mission have provided this crucial support - Dale Fowler, of Harrisburg; Cary Minnis, of Marion; and Lynn Chambers-Ketchens of Cairo. All graduates of the Delta Leadership Institute's Executive Academy, these leaders have been instrumental in leading on-the-ground efforts for IRT planning and volunteer recruitment within the region.

Dale Fowler of Peoples National Bank has been actively serving his community for many years, notably through his efforts as a founder of the Fowler-Bonan Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides clothes for children throughout southern Illinois. He was recently elected as a Harrisburg City Commissioner. He is heavily involved in the United Way for Southern Illinois and the Saline County Chamber of Commerce, where he helped organize the Wing.A.Ma.Jig Downtown Harrisburg Chicken Wing festival. Along with graduating from the Delta Leadership Institute, Fowler also participated in the Delta Leadership Network’s Executive Academy session this past January at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government.

Lynne Chambers-Ketchens is the Principal Consultant and CEO of Chambers & Associates LLC, a firm specializing in health and human services. She is also the founder of Legacy Training and Development Corporation, an organization dedicated to promoting health and expanding the arts in underserved communities through individual impact and successful programming. Some of her many community service efforts include volunteering as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) and working to improve care for victims of domestic violence and provide shelter services. She is a past recipient of the NAACP Community Service Award and the Red Ribbon Award for her work in HIV prevention.

As the Executive Director of Greater Egypt Regional Planning & Development Commission, Cary Minnis leads economic development efforts five southern Illinois counties through technical assistance and comprehensive planning.  His leadership has led to multiple DRA investments in his territory, improving opportunities for businesses and families, with a strong focus on water quality improvement. Minnis also serves as an economic development representative on the Southern Illinois Workforce Investment Board. 

The Southern Care IRT mission will be providing care to the communities of Southern Illinois from June 16-27. For more information about the Innovative Readiness Training program or to volunteer to help with the health missions, please visit the DRA's IRT webpage.