Hannibal Free Clinic celebrates volunteers, new facility at annual meeting

Posted: Feb. 15, 2013 9:43 am Updated: Mar. 8, 2013 10:15 am

Herald-Whig Staff Writer

HANNIBAL, Mo. -- Staff and volunteers of the Hannibal Free Clinic on Thursday celebrated the success of a new and expanded facility that opened last summer.

The clinic, which relies on volunteer physicians and staff, moved to 3145 Hwy 61 North in July because it had outgrown its former home. The clinic serves those ages 18 to 65 without access to basic care.

Among those patients was Eric Ancell, who addressed the group in a video message Thursday during the clinics annual meeting. He thanked the volunteers for the services he had received to combat struggles with drugs and suicidal thoughts, saving his life.

"The more you know about the Hannibal Free Clinic, the more you are aware of these kinds of situations," clinic Chairman Joe Yarbrough said.

The clinic received more than $2 million in monetary and time donations last year, and Yarbrough said that amount will likely need to rise in coming years because the region continues to combat high unemployment.

"We still have a waiting list," he said. "We still have individuals that need help."

Clinic Manager Debra Webster presented Heart Beat awards to three volunteers who have been instrumental to the clinic's development and operation.

Linda Kennett was recognized for her work with processing patient applications and answering patient questions; Joan Malone, for her work providing medication assistance; and Joni Halpin, for her efforts in setting up the clinic's lab and phlebotomy station.

Webster also presented a Supporting Our Services award to the United Way of the Mark Twain Area for its continued support.

Steve Keppner, who has been on the clinic's board since it opened in 2007, was recognized for his financial support and grant-writing skills. Even though Keppner's term on the board has expired, he plans to continue volunteering.