Nov 5, 2013 12:16 PM by MELISSA CANONE
The Lafayette Community Health Care Clinic, which provides free health care for the working uninsured of Lafayette Parish, opened in October 1993 as the first free clinic in Louisiana and has since served as the model for five other free clinics in the state. Because of the Clinic's pioneering visionaries, LCHCC is able to celebrate being at the heart of the community for two decades.
In a tribute to the event's roots, the Silver Bell Soirée will be held at its original location, the Palmetto Club (formerly A La Carte), from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. and will be the kickoff event for the holiday season! This social event will include hors d'oeuvres, drinks and a silent auction.
"I think that the Lafayette Community Health Care Clinic has provided a very worthy part of the
population with both medical and dental care. These folks who are working and don't have insurance need to remain healthy so they can continue to work," says Dr. Terry Cromwell, the Clinic's founder.
"Not only has the Clinic turned out to be very valuable resource for the working uninsured, but it also has turned into an educational center for the young doctors from University Hospital and Clinics, the students from the LSU Dental Hygiene School, and many other students who have volunteered at the Clinic and are interested in going to nursing or medical school.
"It's been a nice surprise that we could educate our young people and take care of folks in the
community at the same time," Dr. Cromwell adds.
This year's Silver Bell Soirée will honor two of the Clinic's most ardent supporters, Dwight "Bo" and Geraldine Ramsay, with the l'Abeille d'Or (Golden Bee) Award. The Ramsays are Golden Angel sponsors for this year's Soirée, and their continued support demonstrates their understanding of the choices that the working uninsured must face - including choosing between health care and providing food and shelter for their families and themselves. The Clinic relocated from its Jomela Street facility to its current address at 1317 Jefferson St. in the former St. Ann's Infirmary in 2000, and in 2007, the Ramsays offered to pay off the Clinic's mortgage, which allowed the Clinic to become debt-free.
"We are very pleased to have the opportunity to recognize the Ramsays' contribution to all of
Acadiana," says Lafayette Community Health Care Clinic Executive Director Jeri Allison. "They are tireless volunteers who make a significant difference in the quality of life of our community. Throughout my career, I have not had a chance to work with two more dedicated volunteers. They exemplify all of the qualities of the l'Abeille d'Or: cooperation, virtue, loyalty, love, wisdom and the accomplishment of the impossible. Please join us as we honor Mr. and Mrs. Ramsay, as they have worked to build one healthy community alongside the Lafayette Community Health Care Clinic."
Lafayette Community Health Care Clinic is a volunteer-driven, private non-profit organization that offers free medical, dental and prescription services to the working uninsured of Lafayette Parish. The Silver Bell Soirée is the Clinic's signature event, and is one of the ways money is raised for these critically needed services, as the Clinic does not receive federal or state funding. In 2012, the Clinic provided $654,980 worth of medical, dental and laboratory services, along with prescriptions valued at $2,487,790 - all at no cost to the Clinic's patients.