By Michaela Gibson Morris/NEMS Daily Journal
When Gloria Springer desperately needed a medical home, the Antone Tannehill Good Samaritan Free Clinic was there for her.
The 39-year-old Tupelo housekeeper had a heart attack and open heart surgery in January, but her road to recovery was anything but smooth. The binder she wore to keep her breasts from pulling on the incision in her chest created painful ulcers; her diabetes complicated the healing process. After being in and out of the ER, she sought help at the Good Samaritan at her mother’s advice.
“I was treated so kindly,” Springer said. “They told me, ‘we’re not going to stop until we get you some help.’”
In addition to the doctors and nurses who volunteer to see patients at the clinic, the Good Samaritan arranged for Springer to see a surgeon and an infectious disease specialist. It took months and three surgeries to resolve her life-threatening infection.
“They have been awesome,” Springer said.
Since the Good Samaritan opened 20 years ago, doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other volunteers have taken care of working Lee County residents who can’t access health insurance, meet income guidelines and don’t qualify for Medicaid.
“I think the Good Samaritan clinic is such an important part of the fabric of our community,” said Tupelo Mayor Jack Reed Jr., who will be honored at the clinic’s annual dinner and roast June 11 at The Summit in Tupelo.
Reed was on the clinic’s original steering committee with founder Dr. Antone Tannehill and first medical director Dr. Walter Bourland and has served as board chairman.
“Jack is really passionate about the clinic and its mission,” said executive director Cindy Sparks.
Because the cost of the meal is covered by an anonymous donor, the roast’s $100 ticket price and any other donations are considered tax deductible, Sparks said. Corporate sponsorships are still available.
The clinic – which has served nearly 10,000 individuals in the past 20 years, has thousands of patient visits each year, Sparks said. The budget has to stretch to cover expensive medications to help people manage chronic conditions like diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and thyroid disorders. The roast provides critically needed funds.
“Last year, we raised a record $96,000,” Reed said. “Our goal this year is $100,000.”
The 2013 roast will feature a bit of payback. Jack Reed Jr. was among the roasters for both his father and Dr. Dick White when they were honored by the Good Samaritan in past years. White and the elder Jack Reed, along with former Tupelo Mayor Glenn McCullough, will do the roasting this year.
“I’m looking forward to it with my fingers crossed,” said Jack Reed Jr., who finishes his term as mayor in July.
If you go
GOOD SAMARITAN ROAST
When: 7 p.m. June 11
Where: The Summit, Tupelo
Tickets: $100 per person
Call (662) 844-3733 to purchase by May 31.