Cold weather did not deter a warm-hearted crowd who saw a new era in the making Nov. 8 for Sevier County’s medically underserved.
At the groundbreaking for the expansion of Mountain Hope Good Shepherd Clinic’s Prince Street building Nov. 8, there was plenty of warmth about the Clinic’s past work and future prospects.
Expanding the Clinic will mean more patient consulting rooms, space for special programs and more patients served, in addition to the 26,000-plus people who have already come through the doors.
Everyone who turned up deserves our thanks for braving the cold, especially the speakers. They included Robin Reagan, the Clinic’s board chair; Mary Vance, former executive director; current Executive Director Deborah Murph, and Daryl Roberts of Tennessee State Bank, who announced a $50,000 donation from the bank toward the building extension;
State Reps. Andy Farmer and Dale Carr read from a state resolution praising the Clinic’s 20 years of service. Dr. Jack Parton of Sevier County School System and Assistant County Mayor Bryan McCarter also spoke in support of the extension. Scotty Henry of Richardson’s Cove Baptist Church and the Rev. Don Grady, formerly of Sevierville Presbyterian Church, gave the opening and closing prayers.
The crowd then retired indoors where Collier Restaurant Group and Cici’s Pizza provided refreshments. Sevier County Utility District donated water and loaned tents; Sevier County Library System loaned a podium and allowed overflow parking behind the library. Woods Hippensteal framed the two resolutions, one for the Clinic and one for co-founder Sue Ellen Riddle.
We appreciate our former and present volunteers and other well-wishers who were undeterred by the cold, as well as Seagle Landscaping Supplies, Susan Austin and her students from East Tennessee State University, and four Seymour High School students who prior to the ceremony ensured that the grounds looked their best.
The main beneficiaries of the building expansion will be Mountain Hope’s patients, none of whom have health insurance. Quality medical and dental care would be unaffordable to thousands of low-income Sevier County residents and workers were it not for the non-profit Mountain Hope.
The Clinic is blessed to be part of such a caring community.