Even as a newcomer to the Community Clinic last June, Stephanie Brady saw at least one thing that was familiar to her. She recognized the furniture.
Donated from the former St. John’s Regional Medical Center in Joplin, Brady saw the same furnishings from years before when she worked as a "candy striper'' at the hospital.
One of two grants the Joplin clinic, which provides medical and dental care for uninsured people, has received since Brady took over as its executive director recently helped upgrade that decades-old furniture.
“It served us very well, but it was time for something new, updated, cleaner,” Brady said. “What we have now is hospital-grade, clean, very nice furniture for our patients.”
The new furniture is a small piece of a major remodel and room dedication showcased at an open house Friday at the Community Clinic. The clinic, 701 S. Joplin Ave., officially completed a significant remodel with approximately $100,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds from the city of Joplin in January, Brady said.
The Community Clinic also dedicated its nurses’ discharge room in honor of Doris Carson, a nurse practitioner who died last month after a career in health care that spanned more than 50 years. Carson volunteered at the clinic before creating the family planning program at Economic Security Corp., where she worked for 30 years before returning to Community Clinic until her June 2016 retirement.
“Even after she retired, she already came back and was volunteering,” Brady said. “And while she was in the hospital, she was calling to give us instructions on what needed to happen. So she was so much a part of this clinic that we want to honor her, and we want to honor her memory and make sure that the people in the future also remember that.”
Several of Carson's family members attended the event Friday to see the clinic unveil a photo of her and a plaque declaring her a "nursing pioneer."
"A lot of things we took for granted as just being who mom was," said Jodi Evans, Carson's daughter. "We really weren't aware of the legacy that she left behind. It's just something that's always been ingrained, not only in her, but us as well, even going back to my grandmother, that you help those that need help. And it's all about giving. And giving is really a blessing. And taking care of those that don't have the means or are impoverished."
Carson was one of the founders of the clinic, which originated as a one-night-per-week service in the basement of First Presbyterian Church in Joplin and also worked there as a volunteer. She died on Jan. 22 after an illness.
“She made people feel like they were family,” Brady said. “We had people who, and I don’t know how she ever did this, but they wouldn’t have come in here for years and they would come in for an appointment and they would see her and she would remember their name, she would remember their kid’s name, she would remember specific details about their lives. And it made people feel important. It really shows how much she cares about people. And I think she kind of epitomized what we as a community clinic do: caring for individuals and families and loving them no matter what.”
The clinic also displayed photography by Howard Thompson, a Freeman Health System physician who volunteers one day every week at the clinic, and paintings by area artist Jack Dawson. Thompson donated several nature portraits, including the cost of printing and framing, to the clinic. The remodel and decorations have helped create a more inviting atmosphere at the clinic, Brady said.
Upon Doris Carson's death, the family asked for donations to be made to the Community Clinic. That gesture has led to more than $2,000 in donations.