Generosity lies at the heart of Grace Clinic, according board members who showed appreciation for the giving that allows the medical clinic to save people.
“The church is good at saving souls, but we’re saving the body parts left behind,” said Medical Director Dr. Steve Erlandson during a recent annual meeting, describing interactions with several patients in which body parts were saved due to diagnosis as well as potentially mortal moments avoided.
“You may not know it was the person you’re sitting next to at Mazzini‘s or somewhere else that has been to Grace Clinic and had their toes saved, found out they were diabetic, had chest pain and a heart attack was prevented. These are all things that happened very, very often. Every week. It’s amazing.”
Erlandson is just one of many volunteers who assists patients at Grace Clinic who are unable to get insurance.
“These people that we see, they’re all workers,” said Erlandson, describing one patient as working two jobs.
“They’re all in desperate need of something,” he said.
Erlandson said sometimes he also experiences a need that Grace Clinic fills.
“Resources are hard to come by,” said Erlandson after describing an examination of a patient without proper instruments who was referred to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.
“Whenever I feel discouraged, [Director Betty Taylor] always pats me on the back and says, ‘we can do it.’ Each time I go to Grace Clinic, I might be tired, I might be discouraged, something may have happened, but I feel uplifted.”
That uplifted feeling may come from the effusive appreciation of Steve Newman, chairman of the Grace Clinic Board of Directors, who expressed appreciation for each element that continues the clinic.
“The board that we have today is absolutely a wonderful, wonderful group of people. They don’t act like a board, they volunteer,” said Newman. “They participate and I can’t tell you how much that the board and the staff volunteers all do.”
Although Newman indicated his appreciation for the staff, who he claimed was “a blessing to this community,” it is the volunteers, which includes the board as well as the staff, that are the heart of Grace Clinic.
“Grace Clinic would probably have to shut down yesterday if it wasn’t for the wonderful volunteers that we have,” said Newman. He said he considers it a privilege to serve the patients of the Yadkin Valley.
Although serving just more than 500 unique patients throughout zip codes 27011, 27017, 27018, 27020, 27055, 28621, 28635, 28642, 28669, 28670, 28676, 28683, and 28685, it is not enough.
“There are people out there right now that need Grace Clinic. There are people out there that do not know about Grace Clinic. There’s people out there today that their stories are not wonderful and they need us,” said Newman, “and I’d ask that you would remember that.”
The clinic also needs to be remembered by those capable of financial generosity as well as those who give of their time, like Grace Clinic Volunteer of the Year Greta Hinson.
“I don’t think you have any idea of the good that you do for this community and for Grace Clinic,” said Newman in appreciation of the financial donors who continue to come forward to help raise the additional $100,000 needed to keep the clinic opened.
“This fellowship of believers is not only a congregation that remembers Grace Clinic in prayer, but we remember you when it comes to the monies and the gifts that is so badly needed,” said Dr. Roger Hensley of Jonesville First Baptist, who hosted the annual meeting, “and we appreciate the ministry that you stand for and represent.”
That ministry goes beyond getting medications.
“Grace Clinic, we’re not a charity, we’re a lifesaver,” said Erlandson. “We save lives. We save more than lives sometimes. [Diagnosis and referral] is what Grace Clinic does three to five days a week. In between times, we save feet, we save vision, we save brains.”
Although not in the business of saving souls, Grace Clinic does offer inspiration, according Erlandson, who has felt uplifted by his service.
“And that’s the way I want you all to feel tonight,” said Erlandson. “I want you to feel uplifted. I think [the patients have] been uplifted by Grace, and that’s what this process is all about.”
To find out how serve as a volunteer, become a patient or donate to Grace Clinic, visit graceclinicnc.org or call 336-835-1467.
Beanie Taylor can be reached at 336-258-4058 or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TBeanieTaylor.