Founders of OR Free Clinic recognized

Susan EspirituAnderson, Fountain City

I was honored to see a friend a mine, Teresa Brittain, recognized last week at the Illustrious Founder Patrons event in Oak Ridge. I didn’t attend the event but happen to see notice of it after the fact.

It was hosted in Oak Ridge last Wednesday by Mary Lou Auxier, wife of the original founder, Dr. John Auxier, who passed away in 2020. The event honored him and the founders of what was originally called the Free Medical Clinic of Oak Ridge, providing no charge medical care to the low-income and uninsured. It is now The Free Medical Clinic.

Teresa Brittain receives award from Mary Lou Auxier, wife of the late Dr. John Auxier

Teresa recalls, “We opened in January 2010. I was the first executive director. I loved that job, but it became so hard for me to see some of my favorite patients die. I knew almost every patient, especially the ones who had been with us since the beginning, and many of them were like family.”

Teresa provided some additional insight on the clinic’s history. “The clinic was John’s idea, and he worked tirelessly to assemble a team who could bring the idea to fruition. He used his connections to get funding, line up other types of community support, recruit medical volunteers and other volunteers to run the office, remodel the space, serve as board members, etc. John was a fine man and a good friend.”

Those original founders who were recognized and presented awards by Mary Lou Auxier, the clinic’s “official” ambassador: David Allen, Mary Helen Rose, Mayme Crowell, Ivy Cooke, Eleanor Wistrom, Dr. Jim Michel, Ann Munz, Teresa Brittain, Lawrence Young, Jim Giles, John Yarbrough, George Smith, Pat Petrie, David Coffey, Dr. Tom Kim, Sharon Cabe, Dr. Tanya Vargas and Ed Cate (unable to attend).

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