Leadership McMinn donation

Shown here are (front row, from left) Kayla Housley, Simmons Bank; Kara Gross, City of Athens; John McLain, Starr Regional Medical Center; Steve McCaslin, Good Faith Clinic; Lisa Harrison, Good Faith Clinic/Guardian Home Care; Christopher Brown, Starr Regional Medical Center; Lisa Rhea (McMinn County Sheriff’s Office; (back row, from left) Blake Travis, City of Athens; Tod Marner, McMinn County E-911; Rob Preston, Athens Chamber; Joseph Ladner, Edward Jones Investments; Hugh Willson, VIP Promotional Products; Brittni Wright, First Horizon Bank; and Julie Simbeck, Athens Chamber. Class members not shown are Beth Stovall, Full Circle Medical Center for Women; Steven Croft, City of Athens; Trina Moses, Tennessee Valley Federal Credit Union; Stephanie McPhail, Servpro of McMinn, Monroe & Polk Counties; Krystal Newton, Krystal’s Social Consulting; Matthew Watson, Simply Bank; Chris Anderson, Tennessee College of Applied Technology; Jessi Knox, Mills Products; Joseph Haynes, United Grocery Outlet/Bargain Barn; Chole Nance; and Jamie Hamby, Cleveland State Community College.

Leadership McMinn, a program hosted by the Athens Area Chamber of Commerce, recently reached out to assist the Good Faith Clinic in Athens.

Leadership McMinn is designed to encourage professional growth and expose participants to local industry, government and community organizations. With more than 600 graduates, Leadership McMinn has been a part of McMinn County since 1988.

In addition to its professional and educational benefits, the program offers participants an opportunity to give back to their community. Each year the class is required to select and participate in a class project.

The Class of 2020 chose to host a fundraiser benefitting The Good Faith Clinic. The clinic, which is completely staffed by volunteers, provides free, non-invasive healthcare services to residents of the McMinn County area who do not have health insurance.

“The class members were so inspired after visiting The Good Faith Clinic on Community Involvement Day last December,” said Julie Simbeck, Leadership McMinn coordinator. “After touring the clinic and hearing volunteers Steve McCaslin and Michelle Crafton give a presentation about their services and how they operate on such a small budget, the class unanimously decided they wanted to help the clinic for their class project.”

After much consideration on multiple ideas of how they could potentially raise funds for the clinic, a decision was made to host an event at The Barn at Faith Farms with the theme of an adult prom. Class members worked to secure sponsors for the event and solicited silent auction items. The event was shaping up to potentially be one of the biggest class projects in the history of the class.

Class members had begun selling tickets for the event when the coronavirus pandemic hit the area and closed schools and organizations, keeping people home for several months. Leadership McMinn sessions were cancelled or postponed as well and the difficult decision was made to cancel the event.

“Although the class was unable to meet for several months, they managed to come up with another plan to help the clinic,” said Simbeck. “Despite all the setbacks caused by coronavirus, the class raised more than $3,000 in donations from local sponsors.”

The Leadership McMinn Class of 2020 recently presented a check for $2,000 to The Good Faith Clinic, a $500 gift card to Helping Hands Ministry for the purchase of supplies for the clinic’s workday, and a donation of insulin worth $1,000.

Donations were provided by sponsors, including Starr Regional Medical Center, Simmons Bank, Hacker Sign Company, Dynasty Spas and individual class members.

The class also spent a day working at the clinic, painting and repairing the outside of the building, under the coordination of Frank Davis of Helping Hands Ministry.

“It is always such a privilege every chance we get to partner with Frank and Helping Hands Ministry,” said Simbeck. “Helping Hands Ministry and The Good Faith Clinic are important organizations in our community. The benefits they provide the people of McMinn County are immeasurable. I am proud of our Leadership McMinn Class and their desire to support the services they provide.”

To learn more about Leadership McMinn and how to participate in the program, call the Athens Area Chamber of Commerce at 423-745-0334.

For more information about how to volunteer or the services provided by The Good Faith Clinic, located at 14 Congress Parkway South, Athens, call 423-745-4541.

Helping Hands Ministry assists with small house repairs and property maintenance for homeowners who are widows, shut-ins or veterans. For more information about their services or how to volunteer, call 423-920-4179.

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