Early History of The Body of Christ Community Clinic
In February of 2008 Herb Cox, a Principal at Belton High School, met with Andy Davis, pastor of First Baptist Church in Belton to discuss his observations regarding students missing school because of poor dental health and the lack of access to medical care. He expressed his concern of insufficient medical and dental services for the poor in the Belton Community. The idea of the need for a clinic to address the underserved population was discussed. On June 1, 2008, First Baptist Church formed a team to look into Mr. Cox’s concern and report back to the church.
Over the next several months, a team made several visits to other clinics, including Plano Children’s Clinic, Temple Free Clinic, Killeen Free Clinic and the Heart of Texas FQHC in Waco. The consensus of the lead team was that Belton did need a free clinic. During the investigation of forming a free clinic, the team heard of a non-profit organization called Empowering Churches in Healthcare Outreach (ECHO).
ECHO was a fairly new group, whose primary goal was to assist faith-based organizations in setting up free clinics in their communities. On March 2, 2009, the first meeting was held with ECHO.
The decision was made to utilize the Belton Ministerial Fellowship (a group composed of local pastors that met regularly) to promote a meeting of Belton Christians to see if there was a common interest among others in the community to form a free medical/dental clinic in Belton.
A series of meetings followed with ECHO’s well-structured organization. ECHO brought many assets to the meetings, including step by step recommendations for forming and applying for a faith-based 501c3 (non-profit) clinic. They had done their homework, had experience and most of all tremendous resources regarding policies and procedures.
The word about the meetings was being promoted through the local churches and the community response began to grow during the summer of 2009. With increasing attendance at each of the meetings, it was obvious that God was moving in the hearts of the Belton community. There was a great response for the need of a “free” clinic in Belton for the indigent and the medically and dentally underserved citizens.
Formation Process Began:
There was an overwhelming positive response from many churches in the community and following a decision to proceed with setting up a free clinic, Billy Ligon proposed to call the clinic, the “Body of Christ Community Clinic”. Michael Miller, attorney, then filed for a Certificate of Formation with the Secretary of State in Austin on June 18, 2009.
During the fall of 2009, the Founding Team, composed of Andy Davis, Craig Pearson, Billy Ligon, Julie O’Rear, and Carolyn Insall continued to meet. Although there were overlap of duties, primarily Andy Davis, was promoting the clinic through the Ministerial Fellowship, Craig Pearson was continuing to coordinate facility and financial matters, Billy Ligon was working on medical staffing and a facility, Julie O’Rear was working on administrative and nurse staffing and a clinic logo, and Carolyn Insall was working on the organizational by-laws and other administrative matters.
Physical Needs Come Together:
With God leading those involved, things began to come together. Mike Bergman, Executive Director of the local food pantry, “Helping Hands” offered a corner portion of his facility located at 2210 Holland Road as rental space for the clinic. Ron Emerson was instrumental in remodeling the space for the clinic. Caleb Cable landscaped the front of the clinic as an Eagle Scout Project. After reviewing several logo proposals from Zeal Designs, the team chose the “cross of people” logo. John Reddell worked for a medical supply company and was a great asset in getting much of the medical room equipment donated from Brinkman, Inc. Scott & White Hospital donated exam tables, cabinets, and replenished computers, Acer donated new computers, Mary Hardin-Baylor’s Hershel Seals and the art department provided a beautiful art mural, Perry Office Supply donated office chairs while Leadership Belton procured waiting room furniture donations through USA Capitol. Scott & White Hospital and Kings’ Daughter’s Clinic offered their services and many others in the community contributed to the needs of the clinic, making a dream become a reality.
Service Area and Member Churches Defined:
The service area for the Body of Christ Community Clinic was defined as the indigent or underserved populations living in the Belton or Salado ISD. For the Body of Christ Community Clinic to operate, it needed a Board of Directors. It was determined that churches meeting in the Belton ISD or Salado ISD, and desiring to be a part of the clinic would need to sign a commitment letter. Member churches were ask to contribute a small percent of their annual budget to the operation of the clinic. The clinic chose not to ask what the churches budgets were, but to operate totally on faith. Each church would appoint the person of their choice to the Board of Directors.
Organizational Requirements Met:
On November 4, 2009, the Body of Christ Clinic received the EIN (Employee Identification Number.) The first Board of Directors met on December 1, 2009 and Board Representatives adopted the By-Laws. On December 11, 2009 the Body of Christ Community Clinic received its 501c3 (non-profit) status from the IRS. Billy Ligon, M.D. was the first Medical Director, Howard Lufburrow, D.D.S. was the first Dental Director, and Carolyn Insall, M.S. was hired as the first part-time Executive Director on February 1, 2010.
On June 10, 2010, the Medical Clinic began seeing their first medical patient followed by the Dental Clinic opening on July 8, 2010 seeing their first dental patient. A grand opening was celebrated on October 3, 2010. The Lord blessed the clinic with many volunteers including Physicians, Physician Assistants, Dentists, Dental Assistants, Nurses, Nurse Practitioners, Pharmacists, Pharmacy Techs, Medical Technologists, Medical Laboratory Technicians, Licensed Social Workers, Translators, and Receptionists, and all who were instrumental in the opening of the clinic, but the ultimate praise goes to God for His blessings on the opening and any successes of His “Body of Christ Community Clinic.”
Since opening the clinic has had over 6,000 patient visits and has grown from three hours a week to fifteen hours a week. We have added services such as dental hygiene, women’s health, diabetic clinic, physical therapy and counseling. The Clinic now has a full-time Executive Director and three part-time employees along with nearly a hundred volunteers. As funds and volunteers increase we hope to become a full time clinic that will be able to serve more of the community.