WTFC volunteers receive awards

Published 10:05 pm Friday, May 18, 2018

The Western Tidewater Free Clinic had two volunteers honored at the 43rd annual Hampton Roads Volunteer Achievement Awards hosted by Volunteer Hampton Roads in April.

Stephie Broadwater and Virginia Savage were honored with Best of Board award and Individual Adult Volunteer award, respectively.

“I was very pleased to win the award, but in truth the recognition that means the most is the fact the clinic is still open and still supported,” Savage said. “The clinic doing well is the best recognition.”

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“I was completely surprised and thrilled about winning the award,” Broadwater said. “The real win for me was the staff and team at WTFC nominating me.”

Both Broadwater and Savage have been volunteering with the Western Tidewater Free Clinic since before the clinic opened its doors to patients.

Savage was the president of the Suffolk Partnership for a Healthy Community at the time, and she was a part of the planning committees that led to the opening of the clinic on June 21, 2007.

“I had been a nurse at the hospital for years prior, and I knew firsthand when (patients) didn’t have access to a physician what it looked like.”

Savage was a registered nurse at Obici Hospital for more than 40 years, and she attended Louise Obici Nursing School.

Savage enjoys her time at the clinic, and the work she does is gratifying for her.

“The clinic provides a service that is not attainable anywhere else. They are treated with dignity and respect, and all their health care needs are taken care of,” Savage said. “A free clinic is not free, and without volunteers it is not possible. All of the good work it provides would fall by the wayside if not for volunteers.”

Broadwater joined the Western Tidewater Free Clinic shortly after the planning process started. After attending an informational meeting, she was invited to work with the committee on its marketing.

“I was looking for something that I could participate with that would make a difference in my community,” Broadwater said. “I really believe if you’re not healthy, it is hard to do anything well in your life, like work or be a parent.”

Broadwater isn’t medically trained, but her time given to the free clinic has been just as meaningful. She has had the opportunity to represent the free clinic both within and outside of its service area and interact with patients in a different way.

“You can’t really appreciate it if you’re not in that kind of situation, because you don’t know what it’s like not to have health care,” Broadwater said. “What we do is give them hope. It’s an amazing experience.”

Broadwater is still an active member on the clinic’s board.