Former Student Joins Clinic Staff

It was a seamless transition for Suleira Rodriguez.

Earlier this month, she completed her medical assistant studies at Tennessee College of Applied Technology. The very next day, she was at work at Mountain Hope Good Shepherd Clinic.

Suleira, who is called “Sue” most of the time, was already familiar with the Clinic. It’s where she had done the clinical hours necessary to become a Registered Medical Assistant.

Toward the end of her training, her instructor told her about two job openings. She chose Mountain Hope because, “I thought I could be more helpful here,” she said.

She’s bilingual, which is a big help to the Clinic’s many Hispanic patients. She was born in California but grew up in Mexico; her first language was Spanish. When she was 10 her parents decided to come back to the United States and moved to Tennessee. Sue attended Pigeon Forge Middle and High schools, and knows this area well.

She was studying to become an LPN but says, “I’m a hands-on person,” and switched to the Medical Assistant program when she saw the practical help RMAs can give their patients. As an RMA at Mountain Hope, she takes patients’ vital signs, does vaccinations, deals with medications, gives some types of treatments and assists the medical staff.

Sue lives in Sevierville with her husband of three years, Dewa Raka. She likes to spend time with her family, especially her 3-year-old nephew. “He’s my baby,” she said. She’s recently celebrated her pinning ceremony and graduation. She also likes to draw and paint.

She says she likes everything about the Clinic. “I especially like the way they help uninsured people,” she says. Patients receive not only physical healing, but also spiritual help, she said. The clinic provides good care to those who can’t afford regular doctors. “They help the community,” she said.

Attendees of the Titanic Event, photographed by Angie Carriere.

Team 22 Helps with Titanic Event

Attendees of the Titanic Event, photographed by Angie Carriere.

Team 22 Studios husband-wife owners went the extra mile to make Mountain Hope Good Shepherd Clinic’s fundraiser at the Titanic Museum truly memorable for the participants.

Not only did Ken and Angie Carriere donate a superhero photo shoot for a youngster as an auction item, they also took stunning 8-by-10-inch black-and-white portraits of everyone in attendance at the Roaring Twenties-themed event on July 15. Sensible Concrete sponsored the photos. Angie Carriere also took a beautiful photo of the guests gathered on the Grand Staircase of the Titanic Museum.

“Angie is really the talent,” Ken said. “I’m just the bragger.” She’s a wiz at photo editing and other technical work the couple produce, but she has a strong artistic streak too. “Angie is one of the most talented people on the planet,” her husband said. Apart from her work with the studio, she performs at the Hatfield and McCoy dinner show. She sings, writes, arranges and produces music and plays nine instruments.

It was her theater work that drew them to Sevier County three years ago. However, it was Ken’s past history that got them involved in the Titanic fundraiser. As a seven-year-old boy, he had Hodgkins Disease, a very serious form of cancer, especially in 1962. His family could not afford treatment for him, so a local organization paid the bills and provided him with the health care that allowed him to survive without dire financial consequences to the family.

Many years later, when the couple heard about the Titanic fundraiser, the Carrieres decided to help as a way of paying back. “Mountain Hope provides services that would not be available otherwise to people with no health insurance,” Ken said.

Team 22 provides all kinds of photographic services, from the traditional to the innovative. As you might expect, the Carrieres shoot weddings, senior portraits and family reunions, etc. and also produce videos. In more offbeat work, they also create superhero or princess packages for children. Using creative technology, they transform the photos they take of boys and girls into large pictures starring the children as superheroes or princesses against an appropriate background. The resulting pictures are available on 16- by 20-inch framed canvases or as large movie-style posters.

Another innovation is the Carrieres’ use of “gray-screen technology,” with which “you can make things look three-dimensional,” Ken said. “It’s pretty amazing what can be done using this technology.” Angie can also take a photo and, using a digital painting technique, make it look like a real painting.

Team 22 Studio is at 837 Newport Highway in Sevierville. You can see examples of the Carrieres’ work at or on their team 22 studios Facebook. Their phone number is 865-366-1213.

Kids Going to School

How to Go Back to School in Good Health

Viruses and bacteria have a new set of victims lined up: It’s back-to-school time.

As children (and their teachers) mingle in their classrooms and schoolyards for the first time in months, the chance of passing on illnesses increases.

Jason Brackins, Mountain Hope Good Shepherd Clinic physician assistant, has some suggestions for ensuring that students get off to a good start and stay healthy this school year and into the future:

–Make sure your children’s vaccinations are up to date. The state of Tennessee has set requirements for vaccines and immunizations that should be respected.

–As fall approaches, it’s time for flu shots. “Untreated influenza as led to hundreds of thousands of deaths world-wide,” Jason said. “October and November are flu season.” It’s best to get a flu shot now and gain some immunity before the bug hits. (This applies to adults as well as children.)

–Good hand-washing habits will control the spread of viruses and infections. Children should be taught to wash their hands after using the toilet, before eating and at other times when they are exposed to other kids’ germs. Door handles, for example, can spread disease.

–Eating a good, healthy diet. Children need well-balanced meals, Jason said. Schools provide breakfast and lunch; snacks are not enough to sustain growing children.

–Students of all ages need a minimum of eight hours’ sleep every night, he said. Children go through periods of rapid brain growth and need more sleep than they will as adults.

–Good oral hygiene is a practice that all students, regardless of age, need to cultivate. Some schools teach the basics of dental care. Brushing their teeth twice a day should become a habit that will serve all students well throughout their lives.

Jason also suggests that parents monitor their children’s vision and hearing and have them tested. These days, children begin listening to music and wearing headsets for video games long before they are teenagers. “Extreme noise over long periods of time can lead to long-term consequences,” he warned.

By promoting these basic practices, parents can ensure their children have a healthy, happy school year and learn health habits that will stand them in good stead all their lives, Jason said.

Attendees of the Titanic Event, photographed by Angie Carriere.

Gala at Sea is a Titanic Success

The Roaring Twenties came to life again July 15 at the Titanic Museum in Pigeon Forge as guests enjoyed the glittering Gala at Sea, a fundraiser for Mountain Hope Good Shepherd Clinic.

Guests, many of whom got into the spirit of the evening by wearing 1920s dress, were treated to a wonderful meal in the elegant Secret Dining Room. A violinist serenaded them at their tables as they ate. A duo provided music throughout the evening and for dancing.

Auction items were varied, to say the least. They included a three-night stay at the Greenbrier Hotel in White Sulphur Springs, WVa; a flight in a biplane to be followed by dinner on the Gatlinburg-Pigeon Forge  Airport terrace; three chairs from the newly refurbished Gatlinburg Skylift, and many other items.

Dr. Doug Guyot spoke about the Clinic’s work. Guests were given beautiful 8 x 10” portraits as mementos. To complete the evening, they took up a toast on the Grand Staircase.

Mountain Hope is especially grateful to Titanic Museum owner Mary Kellogg-Joslyn and to Christopher Massie, who hosted and coordinated the event. Titanic staff Tracy, violinist Officer Bill, Debbie and Ryan made invaluable contributions to the evening’s success. Jon Hamer and Samuel Adams provided music throughout the event.

The Clinic’s thanks also go to the Bullfish Grill for the meal; auctioneer Dale Carr; to photography sponsors Aimee and Jeremy Williams of Sensible Concrete and Team 22 Studios; Eric Bradley of the Navigator; and volunteers Christie Balog, Judy Ann Ellison, Estefany Fernandez, Savannah Fuller and Lucy Fredriksen.



The Clinic also thanks the sponsors for this event; the following people and businesses supplied auction items for the Gala at Sea:

Alcatraz East, Big Creek Expeditions, Collier Restaurant Group, Country Tonite Theater, Gatlinburg-Pigeon Forge Airport, the Gatlinburg Sky Lift, Will Godzson of Inov8 Studios, Gepetto’s Italian Restaurant, Greenbrier Resort, Marc Hightower of Sky High Air Tours, Stephen Leach and Barry Phillips, Woods Hippensteal, Ripley’s Attractions, the Spa at Riverstone, Southeastern Dermatology, Smoky Creek Cabin Rentals, Smoky Mountain Outdoors, and Team 22 Studios.

Other sponsors included Brandywine Creek Vineyard, Mill Bridge Winery, Ole Smoky Moonshine, Sevier Glam, and Smoky Mountain Harley Davidson.


NASCAR Speedpark to Round Up for Mountain Hope

During the months of August and September, the NASCAR Speedpark in Sevierville will once again work to benefit Mountain Hope Good Shepherd Clinic.

NASCAR Speedpark employees will ask visitors to the Sevierville attraction if they wish to add $1 to the price of admission to be donated to Mountain Hope.

A display near the admissions area will inform visitors about the Clinic and its mission, and NASCAR Speedpark employees can answer many questions about Mountain Hope and its work in the community.

The round-up program is sponsored by the Parc Foundation, the charitable arm of NASCAR Speedpark Smoky Mountains. Its mission is to strengthen children and communities by supporting organizations that relate to the mission while positively impacting the local community.

“We are excited about the partnership between the Speedpark and the Clinic,” said Ashley Burnette, director of fund development for the Clinic. “Not only will this activity raise funds for us, it will also increase our visibility in the community. We are so grateful for this opportunity.”