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Dominion donates $20,000 to free clinic

Dominion Resources Inc., the parent company of Dominion Virginia Power, is going to donate $20,000 to the Western Tidewater Free Clinic.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity, and it’s always wonderful when you get surprise presents,” said Caroline Martin, the interim executive director for the clinic. “We were delighted that they considered us and that we will be receiving a grant from them.”

Dominion executives made the announcement this week that the company would be donating $1 million to free health clinics in Virginia as well as 13 other states due to the country’s current recession.

“The current economic times have produced hardships not seen in several generations,” Thomas F. Farrell II, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Dominion, said in a press release. “We want to do our part to make sure medical services are available to those who are uninsured or can’t afford to see a doctor.”

Martin said that healthcare, specifically, is a major concern during a tough economy.

“With this economic downturn, more and more people either are losing their jobs or losing their health insurance,” she said. “So the number of people who meet our eligibility requirements increases. Many of our patients work sometimes two jobs, and it’s just not enough for housing, food, transportation, and heath insurance. For too many of our patients, they have gone too long without routine care.”

According to statistics from Dominion, about 46 million Americans, or 18 percent of the U.S. population 65 or younger, did not have health insurance in 2007 — and that was before the current recession had begun causing massive layoffs. More than eight in 10 uninsured people come from working families.

Martin said there is a large patient population in Western Tidewater. Since opening in June of 2007, the clinic has seen more than 1,000 patients.

The demand is so high that the clinic already is looking to expand.

“We’ve outgrown our current space,” Martin said. “We’re moving to a larger space so that we can have room to expand both the number of clinics that we offer and the number of services within those clinics there by serving more patients. This money is desperately needed and tremendously appreciated.”

This donation from Dominion is the latest of a series of grant programs from the company aimed at helping those in need.

Five months ago, the company donated $1 million to food banks in 14 states, which ion turn purchased more than 20 million pounds of food and grocery products. Additionally, the company provided $6 million to its EnergyShare program, which helps pay for heating and cooling bills.

For more information about the Free Clinic, call 923-1060.