Navy Reserve Petty Officer 2nd Class Geraldine R. Petrik helped provide free medical care to residents of rural Louisiana during exercise Cajun Care on Feb. 25 through March 6.

A Defense Department-sponsored program called Innovative Readiness Training, Cajun Care is designed to provide U.S. military medical professionals valuable training as well as provide health care options to a medically underserved community. The program is in its 20th year, with this year’s exercise Cajun Care providing Abbeville area residents a collective health care benefit valued at more than $1 million.

Petrik is a dental hygienist assigned to the Naval Operational Support Center, Saginaw, and has seven years of military service.

“It’s an amazing feeling, being able to share your skills with people who really need you,” Petrik said.

The daughter of Donald V. Bednard of White Lake, Mich., she is a 1986 graduate of Lakeland, Milford, Mich., and a 1998 graduate of Mott Community College, Flint, Mich. She is the wife of Steven Petrik of Lapeer, Mich., and mother of Steven N. Petrik of Fort Hood.

Contact Teresa Tankersley at or (254)501-7542​

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