How long have you lived in Hernando County, and where do you live? Where did you live previously?
I have lived in Hernando County since 1974 when my family moved here from Maryland. I currently live in Spring Hill.
Who are the members of your family?
I lost my husband, Edward, in 2009. We have two sons: Eric (and his wife, Jennifer) and Jeremy (and his wife, Raechelle). Together they have given me four beautiful grandchildren: Josie, Brandon, Christian and Gauge. They all live in Spring Hill.
Tell us about your career.
I worked in retail management for 22 years, followed by 10 years working in our family business. I now work for Dr. Qahtan Abdul Fattah at the Neurology Clinic, next to Oak Hill Hospital. I'm a certified medical assistant, a certified phlebotomist and an EKG technician.
What kinds of activities are you involved in?
In addition to my day job, I volunteer on Saturdays at Crescent Community Clinic in Brooksville, where health care is provided free for those who have no insurance.
Tell me more about that.
The clinic, which opened on June 11, 2008, was a vision of a dedicated group of volunteers (doctors and staff), strictly nonprofit and dependent on the community for contributions in order to care for those who otherwise would have no access to health care.
In addition to primary health care providers, the clinic has specialists who volunteer their time. This spring, a second clinic will open in Spring Hill. The new site will have dental care, in addition to medical services.
When I began volunteering at the clinic, it was therapeutic for me. When I lost my husband, I took some time to re-evaluate my life. I needed something to keep me busy and fulfilled, so I decided to go back to school. The clinic was across the street from where I took my classes. At lunch and on Saturdays, I volunteered, earning my service hours.
Before I knew it, helping out at the clinic had changed my life and became a new way of life for me. The passion I witnessed of those volunteering at the clinic was contagious. Everyone there is there because they want to help. They ask for no recognition or praise; they just happily volunteer.
What I found so unbelievable was that every doctor there works all week, and then instead of enjoying the weekend relaxing with their families, they give up an entire Saturday — some one Saturday a month, but many are there every week. These doctors pitch in together and pay the electric bill and bring in supplies and medicine so we can dispense it to the patients for free. It's so amazing to see.
The core group includes Drs. Abdallah Kamara, Ghiath Mahmaljy, Husam AbuZarad, M. Rodwan Hiba, Qahtan Abdul Fattah, Hany Abskheoun, Mohammad Joud and Syed Ali.
I wish more doctors would get on board to lighten the load. The Brooksville clinic could really use a podiatrist, as well as more physicians in general. The new Spring Hill clinic needs more dentists and physicians. Even if physicians are unable to help out at the clinic, they could donate some pharmaceutical supplies, or canes and walkers. Individuals can donate online with PayPal using the website, crescentclinic.org.
My service at Cresent Community Clinic is one of the most meaningful things in my life and very rewarding emotionally.
The Brooksville clinic is at 656 S Broad St. and is open the first three Saturdays of each month; the Spring Hill clinic will be at 5244 Commercial Way and should be open in the spring. For information, call (352) 799-5500.
What are your favorite things to do in Hernando County?
I love the outdoor fairs we have here in Hernando County, as well as visiting Pine Island and all of our parks. I like going to Coney Island in Brooksville. It's one of the many places I enjoy, and have over the years, that make up special memories for me.
What do you think would make Hernando County a better place to live?
If every single member of our community could give just a little of their time, to give back and help those in need, we would make a huge difference in the lives of so many.
Tell us something about yourself that most people don't know.
I love practical jokes, laughter, and I have a great sense of humor.
Hernando Neighbors is an occasional feature of the Hernando Times. Do you know someone who would make a good profile? We'd like to hear from you. Contact Jean Hayes, community news coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (352) 848-1438.