Helping in Holland

Published 9:46 pm Tuesday, October 7, 2014

There’s nothing like watching a community rally around the needs of one of its own.

With its single flashing stoplight, its unexpected downtown area, its annual parade and its historical connection to community service organizations — not to mention its isolation from the rest of Western Tidewater by long stretches of highway and vast tracts of farmland — the village of Holland has long had a sort of Norman Rockwell appeal.

Holland’s rural nature continues to define the village, providing stark contrast to the urbanization of, for instance, the Harbour View area on the other end of the city. Holland’s lost-in-time main drag feels many decades removed from all the technology of, say, Pentagon South. One city, two faces.

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But the face of Holland is really the people who call it home, and one of those people recently has learned firsthand just how well loved he is by those he has served through the years.

Dr. Julian McKenney, who is the only doctor in Holland — or the entire 23437 zip code, for that matter — has recently found himself on the other side of the stethoscope as his own doctors have been treating him for chronic lymphocytic leukemia. A recent 15-day hospital visit included seven days in intensive care, and the bills have mounted.

Though his current treatment has worked at least well enough for McKenney to return to work at his office on South Quay Road, where he is still caring for patients, the ordeal has, predictably, left him with huge medical bills.

Some of his former patients remember McKenney’s caring treatment of them and their families, as well as his occasional discounting of his own bills to help those who couldn’t otherwise afford his services, and they’ve banded together to help raise money to help pay his own medical expenses. An event at the Hog Pen restaurant on Sunday included an opportunity for visitors to donate to the cause directly or participate in a fundraising raffle. It’s just the kind of thing folks do in a community like Holland.

To find out more about how you can help, call Jason Fanny, one of the event’s organizers, at 641-0065.