Here at NF, we’re focused on the health of the fishing industry. But we also try to pay attention to the health of the people in the industry, too.
Because commercial fishing is such a hazardous occupation, it’s difficult for fishermen to obtain affordable health insurance for themselves and their families. The good news is that there are folks out there who want to help fishermen get more affordable health care that they and their families need.
Here in Maine, we can count the Casco Bay Fishing and Island Community Partnership of the University of Southern Maine School of Nursing among those folks.
The program is a community health initiative that serves Casco Bay’s commercial fishermen and their families as well as residents on remote islands in the bay. It strives to investigate their health needs and works with the communities to respond to those needs.
Nursing school students in the partnership participate in activities such as flu shot clinics and health screenings. For example, last fall, the partnership held a flu shot clinic at Becky’s Diner, a wharf side eatery here in Portland. And the partnership annually conducts a health screening at the Maine Fishermen’s Forum in Rockport.
Program volunteers at the 2013 Fishermen’s Forum like Kieran Donaghey, seen in this photo from the partnership’s Facebook page, offered free blood pressure checks, glucose and cholesterol screenings. They also had a limited amount of tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis shots available for a $10 donation (or for free if you couldn’t afford it).
How, you ask, can the partnership offer these services at such reduced rates? The partnership holds a variety of fundraisers to support the program. In fact, one is coming up this Saturday, July 27 at Spring Point Tavern in South Portland. There will be door prizes, a 50-50 raffle, a silent auction from 6 to 9:30 p.m., plus live music courtesy of Capt. Ray and the Castaways from 8:30 p.m. to close.
I know a good cause when I see one, so I’m planning to go and contribute to help keep a worthy program — and fishermen and their families — going strong.