Our View: Nevada County’s strong support for free health-care clinic shining example of a caring community | TheUnion.com

Our View: Nevada County’s strong support for free health-care clinic shining example of a caring community

Roger Lewis and Mindy Oberne (The Union file photo)

Hundreds of western Nevada County residents are expected to arrive at Grass Valley’s Veterans Memorial Building this weekend to take advantage of nearly half a million dollars in free health care offered to members of our community.

But no matter how many are served on Saturday and Sunday — the clinic is equipped to serve as many as 500 people each day — the effort alone to provide such an opportunity to those of us who need health care is certainly worthy of our gratitude.

More than a year ago, in July 2014, Grass Valley residents Mindy Oberne and Roger Lewis walked into The Union office and shared word of their intent to organize a two-day clinic offering free medical, dental and vision care to low-income, uninsured or under-insured residents of our community.

Teaming up with Roseville-based nonprofit California CareForce, as the event’s “local hosts” the Grass Valley couple led what’s become a community-wide effort at making this weekend’s clinic a reality.

“The reason we’re doing this is because we know there are many, many local people of all ages who are in desperate need of medical care,” Oberne told The Union in September, as recruiting efforts for participating medical professionals continued. “It would be awful to have to turn people away.”

As reported earlier this week by The Union, a sampling of Saturday’s volunteer medical staff includes 15 dentists, 20 dental assistants, 13 dental hygienists, 15 registered nurses, three nurse practitioners, four medical doctors, five oral and maxillofacial surgeons, three optometrists and many others, including an acupuncturist, a chiropractor, dental X-ray technicians, a pharmacist, an optical technician, licensed vocational nurses, an ophthalmic technician and an EMT.

In recent months, as the organizers reached out to the community for volunteers and donations, they sought to share words of thanks through letters to the editor to the latest organizations and businesses that declared support.

The response was so overwhelmingly supportive that those kudos letters have been a regular read on these pages for several weeks.

“When a group of us volunteered with California CareForce to bring a free health care clinic to our community, we had no idea what we were getting into,” Oberne wrote in a recent Other Voices op-ed. “Nor could we imagine the incredible level of support we’d receive from organizations, churches, businesses and individuals who have given so much to make this clinic possible.”

But, as most of us who live here know, such support shouldn’t be a surprise, as Grass Valley Police Lt. Steve Johnson reminded The Union readers this week. This is what western Nevada County does, including those of us in public service.

“Our department wanted to be supportive and involved in any way we could,” Johnson said. “This kind of effort is at the heart of our community policing philosophy. Nearby schools, businesses, Caltrans — you name it — they were all on board because it’s a worthy cause. People who need to go to the clinic should be able to.”

And thanks to a couple of committed local residents, a nearby nonprofit dedicated to providing health care to those who need it, and a community that continues to come together to donate and volunteer for such causes, those folks who have such health-care needs will have an opportunity to have them met right here in our own backyard this weekend.

The weekly Our View column represents the consensus opinion of The Union Editorial Board, a group of editors and writers from The Union, as well as informed community members. Contact the board at EditBoard@TheUnion.com.

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