By David Howell
OXFORD – A vision that has been over a decade in becoming a reality culminated with the dedication and blessing of the Oxford Medical Ministries Clinic Sunday afternoon.
Although located just outside of Oxford on Hwy. 7 South, the clinic will serve Lafayette, Yalobusha and surrounding counties and is designed to provide free healthcare for working adults, ages 18 to 64, who meet income and work-hour requirements.
The clinic is funded with donations, and as the clinic’s board president, Dr. Jim Rayner, described Sunday, people have already stepped up donating real estate, cash, stocks and pledges. Rayner, a retired opthamologist heads up the fundraising activities for the clinic.
And, while fundraising efforts continue for money to operate and endow the clinic, the facility is operational after property and building were provided as a gift from Vallians Brownie Crawford and Sean Carothers.
During the Sunday ceremony, Medical Director Keith Mansel described how the dream became a reality. He conveyed a call from Lori Williamson, which connected her father, Brownie, to the project.
“It was very obvious that this (working uninsured) struck a nerve with Brownie,” Dr. Mansel told the crowd of an estimated 160 people.
Following that commitment by Crawford and Carothers, Dr. Mansel explained how Sean Carothers oversaw the construction of the facility.
“Sean is the epitome of the Christian gentleman,” Dr. Mansel said.
Now open each Tuesday night, Executive Director Lynn Sloan said the clinic is the most exciting place to be in three counties. Sloan added that the clinic averages five new patients each week. Local doctors, pharmacists, nurses and other volunteers staff the clinic each Tuesday evening.
Sloan visited Water Valley in July, telling Rotarians that her goal was to reach people in Yalobusha offering the clinic’s services.
“This clinic is just as much for Yalobusha County, Water Valley and Coffeeville, as it is for Lafayette County,” Arnold Wayne Carothers said Sunday.
The goal of the clinic is to provide routine care that can curb complications from conditions like high blood pressure or diabetes. Part of this treatment includes providing medication – without cost to patients, according to Sloan.
“This is one of the greatest things that has ever happened to me and the community,” Crawford said.