LUMBERTON — The line already was forming by 5:30 a.m. Saturday for the free health clinic at the Robeson County Church and Community Center.
“The need for health care in Robeson County is great, overwhelming,” said Andrew Collier, the director of the center. “The last time we offered a free clinic was in December 2017.”
Dental, medical, hair care and health information were available at no charge. More than 150 people were served during the daylong event.
“My leg has been burning since 2012. It feels like 1,000 fire ants stinging,” Franklin Goolsby said. “I can’t stand it, and I want to know what it is.”
It is likely that Goolsby found his way to the Carolina Heart and Leg Center, which had staff volunteering at the clinic.
“Today, we are providing consulting for high blood pressure and looking for leg wounds that will not heal,” said Lynette Caballero, of the Carolina Heart and Leg Center. “We will clean and dress wounds today, also.”
“I’m here for blood pressure and teeth cleaning,” Brenda Goolsby said. “I can’t afford dental care.”
In the Baptists on Mission dental van, Dr. Charles Allen and assistant Stephanie Bryan were busy working on a patient.
Marita Carringer was one of the people who had their hair cut by Fallon McNeill, of Top of the World Spalon in Lumberton.
“I’m having a great time,” said Carringer, who was looking for more than a new look. “I needed a new attitude.”
“I’m re-inventing her,” McNeill said.
Volunteers, of which Lumberton residents Johnny and Lynn Smith were two, ushered patients inside to register. From there, they went to Southeastern Health’s Wellness on Wheels van for blood pressure and glucose screening.
Patients were directed to the most appropriate station. Volunteer dentist Dr. Colin Osborne, of Lumberton, screened patients’ dental needs. Volunteer Adolfo Barrious was called upon at one point to translate Spanish to English and back again with a patient for Osborne.
Volunteers abounded. Dr. Annette Burke, a retired Lumberton pediatrician, was there, as was Jeannie Stevens, retired volunteer coordinator for Southeastern Health.
“So many people in this county cannot afford health insurance, so they walk around in pain,” Andrew Collier said. “Anything we can do might save a life.”
The Gibson Cancer Center’s Cat Gaines was doing just that by offering free breast cancer screenings. She had 25 signed up for the screenings by 10:30 a.m.
Consultations on health insurance options also took place Saturday. And the North Carolina Coalition to End Homelessness was offering its services.
By 11 a.m., it was getting warm as the line outside shrank to a handful. Nobody was heard to complain.
Scott Bigelow can be reached at 910-644-4497 or [email protected]