Physicians Treat For Free

November 21, 2005--Posted at 11:32 PM CST

JONESBORO--We all saw the tragedy that can be left behind by a natural disaster when Hurricanes Katrina and Rita hit the Gulf Coast. But for those that couldn't get out before the storms hit, disaster has a whole new meaning. Now one group of Region 8 doctors is trying to plan for the future.

Doctors Chris Montgomery, Tommy Wagner and Drew Dawson are friends. They all did their residencies together and now have their own practices. They also share a common goal, helping during times of catastrophe.

The three loaded a trailer full of medical supplies and headed south for the Gulf Coast after the recent hurricanes destroyed life and property.

"It was kind of scary. We didn't know what we were getting into. We went down and we didn't know where we were going when we left here. We had an 18 foot trailer loaded with medical supplies we didn't have a final destination until mid way through the trip," said Dr. Drew Dawson.

They were headed for the River Center in Baton Rouge, LA. This would be the first of four trips the team would make over the next two months to the region. Experiences that would spur something within the three.

"The more that time went on and we realized that we were the only ones that seemingly had the simple idea of just helping people and creating street level adjustments. We said well maybe we can be the organizing voice of just simple ideas and carry this on," said Dr. Chris Montgomery.

The three formed a non-profit organization called "First Response Physicians". Its purpose; to provide immediate medical care to victims of natural disaster, terrorist attack and or human suffering.

Though the organization is relatively young, they have learned a lot about how to deal with catastrophe. The Red Cross cannot provide medical care. Thats why the team wants First Respone Physicians to be a household name. When disasters strikes, we know we can count on them to help our medical needs.

"I hope it ends up that everyone is secure in knowing as a citizen if something happens in my area, the Red Cross is going to show up, First Response Physicians is going to show up and the government and their agencies are going to show up and that they are going to work together and you are going to be taken care of," said Dr. Tommy Wagner.

The three will be heading back to Bay St. Louis next week to continue their work. The organization survives on donations from citizens and corporations alike. If you would like more information about First Response Physicians, log onto their website .