While the waiting room often gets crowed at the Free Medical Clinic of Oak Ridge (FMCOR), it was packed to capacity on a recent Sunday afternoon. People huddled together not to see a doctor, but to surprise the person whose efforts led to the clinic’s opening nearly four and a half years ago.
John and Mary Lou Auxier arrived at the clinic with John’s sister for a pre-arranged tour by Executive Director Teresa Brittain. Instead, John was surprised by more than 60 friends, colleagues, and clinic volunteers who gathered for a reception to honor him for turning his dream into a reality, a free clinic that provides basic medical care to the uninsured or to those who can’t afford to pay for medical care. Since opening, more than 3,500 residents of people who reside in Anderson, Roane, or Morgan counties have received care in more than 15,000 visits.
The genesis of the FMCOR was in the Clinics of Hope USA, of which Auxier was a founding board member. In the summer of 2008, Auxier invited Dr. Tom Kim, medical director of a free clinic in Knoxville and a member of the Clinics of Hope, to address his Sunday school class at First United Methodist Church of Oak Ridge to talk about the need for free medical services for the uninsured poor. The interest generated by Kim’s talk propelled Auxier to pursue his dream for the formation of a free clinic in Oak Ridge.
More than 100 people interested in starting a clinic attended a meeting at FUMC in July of 2008. During the course of the next 18 months, FMCOR came to fruition as Auxier garnered financial support and recruited the initial board of directors and medical and non-medical volunteers.
The former Trinity United Methodist Church education building was remodeled by the Kern United Methodist men’s group into functioning clinic space, Methodist Medical Center agree to provide lab and X-ray services, and Ed and Nancy Cates trained a large group of volunteers, all leading to opening of FMCOR on Jan. 15, 2010.
In the fall of 2013, FMCOR moved to a larger facility to meet the needs of the ever growing requests for care. They are located at 116 E. Division Road in Oak Ridge.
In September 2010, Auxier left the clinic board, saying he felt that his usefulness had run its course.
“John Auxier has remained a faithful and enthusiastic supporter,” Brittain said. “His efforts will forever be remembered and appreciated. Simply put, without him there would be no FMCOR.”
To learn more about FMCOR please go to www.fmcor.org. The clinic can be reached by telephone at (865) 483-3904.