More than 85 patients have received free or reduced cost medical care in Thomson this past year, thanks to one local nurse who had a vision.
The realization of that vision earned Amy McCord the Giving Your Best award from WJBF-TV News Channel 6.
"I could have had a vision, but without the wonderful volunteers and my husband and my family, it would not have been possible at all," Mrs. McCord said when she was presented the award.
Five members of the Channel 6 news team and approximately 20 of Mrs. McCord's family and friends filled the waiting room at McDuffie County Health Department Monday to surprise her with the announcement and a trophy. Mrs. McCord is a public health nurse specialist there.
"All the work you have done has not gone unnoticed," news anchor Jennie Montgomery said to Mrs. McCord. "We are very passionate about the Giving Your Best award, and we get hundreds of nominations each year. It's hard to vote on them because we have so many good ones, and you are one of the 12 chosen for this year."
The award honors people in the Augusta area who have made a significant difference in the lives of others, according to the WJBF Web site. Recipients are selected based on their contributions to the community and their ongoing efforts above and beyond their job to help others.
In June 2008, Mrs. McCord opened the McDuffie Medical Mission, a clinic that serves uninsured patients with chronic health problems such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
While working her job at the Health Department, Mrs. McCord said she ran into the problem of not being able to refer people to doctors for their chronic medical care if they didn't have insurance or money to pay a doctor. So, Mrs. McCord met with her pastor at Thomson First United Methodist Church and got help from church members, doctors and nurses and trained residents to operate the clinic two days a month.
The Board of Directors of the Health Department allowed her to use their facility, saving her the expense of blood pressure cuffs, stethoscopes, examination tables and the building itself. The Department of Community Health provides the training for the volunteers and covers the liability.
After one year, the clinic provided more than $26,000 worth of free care to more than 85 patients, issued more than 50 pairs of glasses, pulled 10 teeth in two months, enrolled four patients in prescription programs, drew more than 200 lab tests, and prescribed more than 200 medications.
"She's just put so much of herself into it," said Kay English, who nominated Mrs. McCord for the award. "Plus, she's such a good leader, but can remain a servant at the same time. There's not a lot of people that can do that. ... She worked for six months on it before she got it off the ground."
In addition to her full-time job and the medical mission, Mrs. McCord and her husband, Chris, are the parents of two young sons and actively involved in the Boy Scouts, and she co-teaches a Sunday school class.
Mrs. McCord's story will be featured during the 5 p.m. newscast on Channel 6 on the first Monday in October, and smaller snippets will run the entire month, according to Ms. Montgomery. The McCords also will be part of a reception at the Pinnacle Club in Augusta where the year's recipients will be honored and one will receive the Jefferson Award and go on to compete for the national award.
For more information on the McDuffie Medical Mission, call (706) 872-1665 and leave a message.