Columbus Alums Paint Clinic

Equipped with the necessary tools of the trade, three Wabash alumni joined forces at the Volunteers in Medicine clinic in Columbus, Indiana, to paint as a contribution to the inaugural Wabash work day effort.

Sherm Franz ’59, Jon Holdread ’66, and Dom Glover ’93 donated three hours of their time Saturday morning painting several exam rooms as a way to give back to the community. (See photo album from Columbus project.)

"We hooked up with Volunteers in Medicine because they are getting ready to celebrate their 10th anniversary, Jon and Sherm are both acquainted with it, and it seemed like a good worthwhile project," Glover said, who is the president of the local Columbus alumni group and is an attorney at Beck Harrison & Dalmbert. "It was what we were looking for in terms of work and time and it’s an organization we all believe in and want to help."

Volunteers in Medicine opened in September of 1996 as a free clinic for people who don’t have insurance and are not covered by government programs, such as Medicare or Medicaid.

"We have 35 physician volunteers here at site," Franz said, a retired psychiatrist who is part of the Volunteers in Medicine staff. "These are people who are actively practicing but devote a half day a month or two half days a month here at the clinic. We have over 120 other specialist physicians and dentists who will see our patients in their offices either at no cost or at a very reduced cost once they know they are Volunteers of Medicine patients and have been screened here."

The clinic receives donations from pharmaceutical companies, funding from the Columbus Hospital Foundation, and has an annual raffle that generated $80,000 dollars alone last year.

"It’s something the whole community has gotten behind as is evidence from the fundraiser and getting funded through so many donations from people who help create the corpus of funding equaling about seven million dollars that supports the help."

Similar to Franz, Holdread is a psychiatrist who donates his services to Volunteers in Medicine, yet he is still practicing at Quinco Behavioral Systems. Having known each other for a number of years as professional partners, Franz and Holdread reminisced between paint strokes about days of old, laughing about how bad the coffee was or how they would grade each others work according to the old Wabash academic 3-point grading scale.

"They should be nervous about two physicians and a lawyer painting," Glover said, jokingly. "But they trust us I guess. We do have drop clothes and rags. The proof will be in the putting."

As the afternoon wore on, the trio was able to complete two exam rooms and a few other interior walls with minimal paint stains on the carpet. However, the overall effort proved well as does the vision of the clinic.

"You feel proud of the community for being able to do something like this," Holdread said jointly about the clinic and of the national Wabash workday. "To have that kind of participation of people willing to do it is a huge reflection of the community atmosphere."     

Huncker is a free-lance writer based in Bloomington.

In photos:

Top right: Franz and Holdread apply a coat of paint.

Lower left: Glover does some sanding before going to work with a brush.