Healthcare for Traveling Amusement Workers

If you get sick, you probably pick up the phone and call the doctor you've known for years. But what if you're hundreds of miles from home and in a different town every week? Thanks to a doctor's office that makes unique house calls, the midway workers at the Kiwanis Ogeechee Fair get that kind of help every year when they come to Statesboro.

Growing up on the road with a carnival, Macalah Browning can see pig races every day. But seeing a doctor is a different story. Her mother was delighted to get medical care in Statesboro.

"She woke up with fever and a cough this morning," Cynthia Browning told us. "They were nice and gave her antibiotics. She'll be fine." She added you can't find that in every town. "No, I'd sit in an ER for hours. It's great here."

From medication to dental cleanings, it's all free of charge, compliments of local churches and doctors.

Each year, Dr. Randy Smith sets up shop under a tent. "We see people with the fair end up in the hospital here in dire straits because they were out of medicine," he said. "That's where we got the idea to come out here."

At the fairgrounds, workers got basic medical and dental care. For specifics like OB/GYN, a van carried workers into town to see other doctors at their offices.

Since they work 11 months a year--in a different town each week--they say immediate appointments are tough to find, especially with no insurance. Many say they look forward to the Statesboro stop.

"They treat you, not like a stranger, but like you've already been here," said amusement worker Willie McFadden. "Real nice, hospitable people."

Volunteers say the fair raises so much money to help charities around town, they owe it to take care of even the littlest members of the team.

Different doctors take turns during fair week. They'll continue the medical visits through Friday. The fair ends Saturday night.

Reported by: Dal Cannady,