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7-14-16 Volunteers and Patients Share Their Stories From Pathway Beckley Health Clinic
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By Kimberly Luste Maran

According to a report from the Columbia Union Visitor, more than 1,100 patients have already been treated at the Your Best Pathway to Health free clinic since it opened yesterday, July 13, in Beckley, West Virginia. So far, dental volunteers have treated 165 people, while other medical volunteers performed 18 surgeries, 131 HIV tests, 420 eye exams; fitted 299 pair of glasses; provided 117 haircuts; and distributed 2,205 lunches to volunteers and patients.
 
More than 730 volunteers from across the United States and even a few from Colombia, Mexico, and Poland, are helping at the event, including 14-year-old Olivia Lesko, a member of the Centerville church in Ohio. Lesko is volunteering in the clothing distribution area and two of her customers were a 4-year-old girl and her mother. Lesko says the girl’s eyes got big when she spotted a pair of sparkly pink Barbie shoes on the floor.
 
“I heard her say, ‘They fit perfect Mommy! The only other shoes I have are my flip flops — now I have these and they gave me Minnie-Mouse socks!’” Lesko adds. "It just made me so happy to help this little girl. I'm so happy to be here at Pathway to Health.”

 
Volunteer Helen Veeragaghavan gives a Pathway to Health Beckley patient a massage.
Photo by Jamie Jean Schneider/NAD

 
 

Both volunteers and patients have made sacrifices and overcome challenges to make it to the pop-up clinic.
 
Helen Veeragaghavan is an Adventist student from India, studying in the United States. She is a volunteer at the massage station. She’s been in the U.S. for about a year and a half, and was canvassing (as literature evangelist) before making the choice to volunteer at Pathway to Health. It was either earn money for her school bills, or volunteer. “I decided, with God’s help, that I would come to Pathway,” Veeragaghavan says. “I know that my Lord will take care of me although I know that my bill is high.”
 
Veeragaghavan explains, “I wanted to serve people, it’s not that money matters to me. Money can come and go at any time. The whole of Heaven is holding the treasure. From my childhood, I’ve had a longing to serve the people. Now, I don’t want to miss any chance while I’m studying here. That’s my only goal, until I die . . . I can see God’s blessings with the people, when I see them after finishing the massage, the relaxation — that gives me happiness. That’s the only thing I need in this world. They thank me, but I tell them to thank God.”
 
Monique Mitchell, an Adventist podiatrist from the Bahamas, took vacation to volunteer at the free health clinic. She was amazed to see all the services offered at the clinic. “It is just overwhelming. To see all the services here — such as cardiology, radiology, massage — everything you can think of is here. It is fantastic that persons can get these services for free all in one place.”

 
Samir was able to get her hair washed and styled at the free health clinic, which is offering dental, vision, masssage, and a host of other services.
Photo by Jamie Jean Schneider/NAD

 
 

As Mitchell prepared for travel to Beckley, her husband told her about the devastation caused by recent flooding. She says, “I was amazed that Pathway to Health was already planned to come here when the disaster happened. These people really need the services. So God is good.”
 
Mitchell says she feels like a little ant in the entire scheme of things, but also privileged to serve. “Giving service is what we Christians should be all about,” she says. “I am just amazed to see all the volunteers here, young people and professionals giving their time . . .  It is amazing that, in our love for God, we want to serve people in this way.”
 
Volunteer Jay Reedier, from Baudette, Minnesota, understands the local community needs. He lived in Wyoming County on Indian Creek in 2001. He says, “I was flooded out. I know what floods are like and what everyone is going through and just had to come and help."
 
Reedier read about the Pathway Beckley clinic and saw a clip on the Three Angels Broadcasting Network (3ABN), and was “compelled to come do what ever I could to help in Beckley.”
 
Carla, from Piney View, was the second person through the door on the clinic’s first day. She received dental care after spending Tuesday night in line — and working 11 days straight in order to have one day off to attend the clinic. Carla wasn’t the only one, as numbers indicate, who needed dental services.

 
Monique Mitchell, a podiatrist from the Bahamas, waits for a patient at the Your Best Pathway to Health Beckley clinic.
Photo by Jamie Jean Schneider/NAD

 
 

Liliah and Kimberly, a mother and daughter from Beckley, heard about the clinic from Facebook, a post shared on local WVVA TV station. Kimberly needed a few caps and some fillings. When asked what this meant to them, Kimberly says, “This is priceless. The kindness and the compassion shown here is amazing from everyone. Everyone is just so gentle, kind, and caring. We discussed it with each other all morning. And you know what the common denominator is here? It's that they’re Christians. They’re volunteering, they’re following Christ’s example. It’s great to see that, it’s refreshing.”
 
Samir, 27, from the Beckley area, has had a difficult few weeks. She was hit by a car while on her bike, resulting in a broken collarbone and other injuries. Since her surgery two weeks ago, Samir hasn’t been able to wash her hair and only managed to dress herself without assistance since yesterday. As a result of her accident, Samir, a massage therapist, cannot work.
 
She stopped by the clinic on Thursday, July 14, to have her hair washed and styled by Pathway Beckley beautician team leader, Page. Samir couldn’t stop smiling as she shares that “God has spared my life many times. I don’t know what He has planned for me, but I trust Him fully.”

— Your Best Pathway to Health Beckley communication team, and V. Michelle Bernard/Columbia Union Visitor, contributed to this report.
 
 

North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists
12501 Old Columbia Pike
Silver Spring, MD 20904-6600 USA
Telephone: 301-680-6400
Fax: 301-680-6464
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