TUPELO • Friends, family and colleagues will take turns needling Tupelo cardiologist Dr. Bo Calhoun in the name of caring for the working uninsured.
Calhoun will be the honoree at the annual roast benefiting the Antone Tannehill Good Samaritan Free Clinic. The event at the BancorpSouth Conference Center will begin with a social hour at 6 p.m. and program and live auction at 7 p.m. Sept. 19.
“Volunteering is part of our calling,” said Calhoun, who has shared his expertise as a physician for the Good Samaritan Clinic and as a board member.
Calhoun will join a long line of physicians and community advocates who have taken the hot seat to help the clinic care for patients.
“I agreed in a moment of weakness,” Calhoun said with deadpan humor. “I just want to raise more money than Scott Reed,” last year’s honoree whose event brought in $135,000.
The Good Samaritan clinic provides medical, dental and pharmaceutical care without charge to the working uninsured of Lee County. Physicians, nurses and pharmacists volunteer their time and expertise to care for the patients. Since the clinic opened in November 1992, it has logged more than 69,000 patient visits.
“It’s a model of a community supporting health care in a desperately needed area,” Calhoun said. “It’s the community taking care of their own; that defines the Tupelo spirit.”
Calhou, who has practiced in Tupelo since 1997, said it’s gratifying to work as a team with other doctors, nurses and pharmacists to take care of patients.
“The patients are so appreciative,” Calhoun said.
It’s gratifying to care for those who are working so hard, he said. Calhoun has watched the patients balance work at the same time they are furthering their education.
“There’s a lot of drive to do better,” Calhoun said.
This year the goal is to raise $140,000 for the clinic, said executive director Cindy Sparks. The clinic is starting to see an increase in patients who qualify for services.
“More people are working, but they’re just not making enough to afford health care,” Sparks said.
Additionally, the clinic is facing increased costs for diabetic testing supplies and some medications.
This year’s roast will be the first to be held at the BancorpSouth Conference Center. Tickets for the annual roast are $125 each and sponsorships are still available through the clinic, Sparks said.
Calhoun’s childhood friend John Ballard, who is an Arkansas hospital administrator; his brother-in-law, Judge Dick Hughes and Tupelo cardiologist Dr. David Irwin will do the honors of roasting Calhoun. Scott Reed will serve as master of ceremonies.
Dr. Dick White will lead the live auction. This year’s auction will feature bidding on a painting by William Heard, a pair of Blue Delta custom-fitted jeans, a Browning shotgun and a performance by the Two Drink Minimum band.
Tickets and sponsorships are available by calling the Good Samaritan Free Clinic office at (662) 844-3733.