By Michaela Gibson Morris
TUPELO – A record crowd had a knee-slapping night Tuesday as it roasted Dr. Wayne Slocum and toasted the Antone Tannehill Good Samaritan Free Clinic.
“It’s kind of like putting Justin Wilson and Jerry Clower together,” said roaster Pat Caldwell, who teased his friend about his native Louisiana and off-color adventures.
The Tommie and Dr. Walter Bourland Annual Roast recorded the largest crowd ever and a record $100,750 raised, with more donations still coming in, said President Cindy Sparks. The money funds nearly a third of the budget for the clinic which cares for working Lee County residents who can’t afford health insurance.
Along with Caldwell, roasters Yvette Slocum and Scott Reed pulled out pictures and crazy stories about Slocum’s misadventures and snappy one-liners.
“Don’t laugh at him, you’ll be stuck with him forever,” Yvette Slocum said her friend warned her the night her husband tried to pick her up in a bar in New Orleans while she was in nursing school and he was in medical school.
But even though he told his high school classmates he found her phone number on a bathroom wall and embarrassed her on a New York subway, it’s been a joy to be around him for 30 years of marriage.
“I hope to have at least 30 more to laugh together,” she said.
Scott Reed teased Slocum about their mishaps while mountain climbing, but joking aside, praised the Slocums’ efforts on the behalf of the community.
“As a couple, they go out of their way,” Reed said. “They are so genuine.”
Slocum, who has been an obstetrician-gynecologist for 27 years in Tupelo, brought a bag of props including a halo and angel wings. But even as he prepared for the evening of laughs, the clinic’s serious purpose and its long history came through.
“It means a lot,” said Slocum, to be a part of the event named after his late medical practice partner, Dr. Walter Bourland and his wife Tommie. Bourland served as the clinic’s first medical director and his wife was a longtime volunteer.