Last week we announced a new blog feature that will showcase the ways a few volunteers have made a huge difference in their community. Here’s our first story.
In 1995, Dr. Jim Shaw and his wife, Cooka, chose to answer a persistent call they were feeling to provide health care for the uninsured. First, they partnered with a local church, whose Sunday School classroom became a free clinic one night a week. There, a handful of volunteers began treating the medically disadvantaged in York County, Virginia.
Word of the clinic spread slowly at first. But after York County leaders allowed the clinic to operate out of Charles Brown Community Center, a steady stream of patients and volunteers ensued. Still, this fledgling band of medical volunteers had a bigger vision.
Seeing how swiftly the need was growing, they believed that one day they would provide these much-needed services within a well-equipped facility that the medical ministry would own. By 2003, after the community’s generous support of its capital campaign, Lackey Free Clinic opened in a brand-new building. But they didn’t stop there.
Soon after, the clinic’s new pharmacy was providing free medicine through the Pharmacy Connection. In 2004, they added a free dental clinic and one of Virginia’s first free chronic-care clinics for patients with diabetes, hypertension, and other conditions. In 2009, after the goal of their second capital campaign, for $1.5 million, was surpassed by $100,000, a new goal of $2 million was set. Now that the clinic has grown from 150 patent visits in its first year to more than 8,000 in 2009, the money is needed to expand programs, staff, and facilities, as well as grow the organization’s endowment.
All this because one dedicated couple set out to help the uninsured.