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Local clinic that serves others needs special help from community

September 15, 2012

The Christian Community Care Clinic is in need of special assistance.
Barbara Elrod, a retired RN and volunteer for the clinic, said the facility especially needs updraft machines, blood pressure cuffs and CPAP machines.
"What better way to recycle than to give things new life and help others at the same time?" Elrod said.
She explained that the clinic is "a nonprofit facility and operate on grants and donations, so you know money is always tight."
She encouraged anyone who might have any of these items to consider donating them to the clinic where they in turn can be passed on to the clinic's patients.
"Please consider this a heartfelt plea to our community to help us once again to help others," Elrod said.
As a retired RN and volunteer for Christian Community Care Clinic, Elrod noted that she is accustomed to asking for goods or services for the clinic. "We would be grateful for any help," she added.
"I have been a part of this wonderful organization since its planning stages and get more blessings every time I step inside the doors of the building than I ever thought possible," she said.
The clinic provides free medical and dental care to Saline County residents who have no health insurance and are not on Medicare. It currently is celebrating its 13th year of service.
According to the clinic's executive director, Gwen Simpson, about 600 local residents were examined, treated, and given antibiotics and other medicines in 2011.
Many of these patients had not visited doctors in numerous years and some were in serious medical conditions, she said. If it had not been for the free clinic, they may not have lived much longer, Simpson speculated.
"There's no question that the clinic saves lives," Simpson said.
"When you see patients come back, that's the neat part," she said. "When they say to us, 'I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for you all,' that makes the efforts worthwhile."
Simpson cited an example of a patient for whom the clinic provded lifesaving care.
"We had a patient that our APN (advanced practice nurse) realized was having heart trouble," she said.
She noted that the woman was taken immediately to a hospital. "I believe she ended up having surgery at the Heart Hospital. Had she not come in, she likely would have died because she had blockage in a main artery that they call 'the widow maker.' It was caught strictly because our APN caught it."
The Christian Community Care Clinic "is a place touched by God," Simpson said.
From its very beginning, the facility seems to have received divine intervention, she said.
Simpson explained that a group of local businesses leaders had been on a mission trip in another country and came too the realization that residents in their own backyards needed help as well. After partnering with local churches, Saline Memorial Hospital, UAMS, local pharmacies, nursing homes, and the Saline County Health Department, the clinic opened its doors in 1999.
The Benton City Council provided funds to renovate the current building the 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization uses today.
Clinic staff are quick to point out the importance of everyone who donates or volunteers or both, Simpson noted.
"CCCC is blessed to be in Saline County where people are so generous ... it's full of good people," Simpson said.
New patient registration is held from 8 a.m. to noon on the first and third Thursdays of each month. Clinic night, when patients are seen by doctors, begings at 5 p.m. on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month.
Donation, volunteer and/or patient information, as well as a calendar of events, clinic and registration dates, are available at www.bentoncareclinic.com; by calling 776-1703; or by picking up an informational flier at 220 W. South St. in Benton.
Elrod may be reached at 249-2165.

Courier staff writer Matt Burks also contributed to this account.

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