ORANGE PARK – Two years ago, The Way Free Medical Clinic in Green Cove Springs was in shambles. The clinic that treats uninsured patients who fall below the poverty level was broke and …
ORANGE PARK – Two years ago, The Way Free Medical Clinic in Green Cove Springs was in shambles. The clinic that treats uninsured patients who fall below the poverty level was broke and dysfunctional.
Board members and major fundraisers demanded a complete restructure of the way the non-profit in Green Cove Springs operated its business, as well as a change in leadership.
Don Fann, who has a history of turning troubled non-profits around, was the perfect solution.
After helping more than 3,000 county residents in 2018, the Way Free Medical Clinic is again thriving, not only treating patients who desperately need help – one in six in Clay County don’t have medical insurance – but regaining the trust of the community.
Last Tuesday, the clinic was honored with the Paul E. Reinhold Community Services Award as part of Celebrate Clay, the top honor given annually by the Paul E. and Klare N. Reinhold Foundation.
Along with the recognition was a check for $10,000.
“The award, for us, is the recognition of the critical relevance of what we do to provide medical coverage for those who can’t pay for it,” Fann said. “What $10,000 will do for us is give care to 20 people for a year.”
The Way Free Medical Clinic “recovered” by hiring Fann to give the board of directors some much-needed stability, as well as donations by Florida Blue and Reinhold Foundation, as well as a working collaboration with St. Vincent’s Healthcare Ascension. The clinic, which has more than 70 volunteers, is located at 479 Houston St.
The Celebrate Clay awards program recognizes, rewards and encourages community service within Clay County. The Foundation has awarded more than $765,000 at Celebrate Clay in the past 11 years.
In all, there were 48 winners, including regionally-based non-profits, churches and school programs that provide services in the county.
The PACE Center for Girls Clay and Quigley House each were given Judge’s Choice Program Awards. Both organizations, which provide services to women, were given $5,000 each.
Fred Meiners, executive director at Seamark Ranch, was given $5,000 as the Extraordinary Executive Director, while Dianne KcKittrick, who spent a month working at Publix and Walmart on Fleming Island raising money for Special Olympics Florida-Clay County, got $5,000 as the Peggy Bryan Volunteer of the Year.
The Judges’ Choice Volunteer Awards, along with $2,500, went to John Wrightington of Waste Not Want Not and Jerry Ballman of the Church of the Good Samaritan Anglican.
The Best New Organization was the CalaVida Arts Festival.
Other winners included:
Special Judges’ Award ($1,500 each) – BASCA; Challenge Enterprises; Clay County Habitat for Humanity; Clay County Police Athletic League; The James Boys of Orange Park United Methodist Church; Mercy Support Services; Mobility Worldwide Fla. – Penney Farms; Project REACH, Clay County School District; Safe Animal Shelter; and, YMCA Take Stock in Children Clay County.
Category Awards ($750 each) – Arts & Culture; Concert on the Green and Oakleaf Village Elementary Music Department.
Civic Programs – Clay County Archives.
Community Programs – The Clothes Closet of Church Women’s Christian Ministries; Feeding Northeast Florida; Food Pantry of Green Cove Springs; Hope Haven Association; Hunger Fight; The Kitchen on Clay County; Orange Park Outfitters – Orange Park High School; and, Women’s Empowerment Services of NE Fla.
Education & Literacy – Early Learning Coalition of North Florida and Episcopal Children’s Services.
Health & Human Services – Clay Behavioral Health Center; Community Hospice and Palliative Care; Hope Therapy; and, Soldiers Freedom Outdoors.
Senior Citizens' Accomplishments – Shepherd’s Center of Orange Park.
Church Service Programs – Food Bridge – Middleburg United Methodist Church; Good Samaritan Ministry – Orange Park United Methodist Church; A Heart for Homes - HighPoint Community Church; and, Mission of the Dirt Road in Keystone Heights.
Accomplishments by Youth – AMIkids Clay County; Clay County 4-H Foundation; and, Lake Asbury Jr. High Band – United Sound.
Service to Youth & Families – Big Brothers Big Sisters of NE Fla.; Kids First of Florida; Magnolia Point Women’s Club Charities; Miriam’s Basket; and, Teen Court of Clay County.