Difference making donations

The free clinic has developed a new “naming opportunities” program as a way for donors to name an OCFC program or room in honor of, in appreciation of or in memory of a loved one. Next Thursday, the clinic will dedicate its waiting room in honor of Sandra Speiden (above left) and its women’s wellness program and exam room to Carole Roddy (above right, with husband Mike.)

There are plenty of opportunities to contribute toward the Orange County Free Clinic’s mission of providing quality health care to low income, uninsured residents. Whether it’s donating hand sanitizer or office supplies or if a medical volunteer can offer some time or talent, the free clinic is always seeking ways to better connect the community to its clients. 

“Individual donations and donations from the business community are extremely important to us,” said Dorren Brown, executive director at the Orange County Free Clinic. “Every dollar we don’t spend buying toilet paper we can use to buy medicines.”

While every donation makes a difference, the Orange County Free Clinic (OCFC) has developed a new donation opportunity which promises to leave a lasting legacy. The “naming opportunities” program was recently developed as a way for donors to name an OCFC program or room in honor of, in appreciation of or in memory of a loved one.

“The Orange County Free Clinic is dependent upon the financial support of its community to continue its mission to provide the highest quality medical care, counseling services and prescription assistance to the uninsured residents of Orange County,” said Aly Hodge, resource development director at the clinic.

Two Orange County citizens jumped at the chance to honor a loved one through the OCFC’s newest fundraising initiative. Bill Speiden, of Somerset, donated $25,000 to the clinic, which will name the patient waiting room after his late wife, Sandra D. Speiden, a devoted animal lover, archaeologist, activist and philanthropist. Meanwhile, Mike Roddy of Lake of the Woods has committed to provide the clinic with $5,000 annually in memory of his late wife Carole, who was a founder of and dedicated volunteer at the OCFC. The recently developed women’s wellness program and exam room will pay homage to Carole J. Roddy. Both rooms will be formally dedicated during a ceremony Thursday, May 17 at 5 p.m. in the clinic. The event is open to the public.

During the ceremony, pictures and plaques will be unveiled for the Carole J. Roddy Women’s Wellness Program and exam room and the Sandra D. Speiden patient waiting room.

“We’re hoping people will see this as an opportunity to donate and honor someone,” Brown said.

Carole J. Roddy was involved with the free clinic when it was still just an idea. The registered nurse worked in the medical field her whole life, before she and her husband Mike retired to Lake of the Woods in 2002. Even in retirement, she remained involved in community happenings. She was president of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office TRIAD program, and in 2006, was involved in founding the free clinic.

“She showed me everything I know and served as our nursing director,” Brown said. “She was one of the hearts behind this. She had a love for the clinic and a love for the patients. That’s what it was all about for her—being able to help those that needed it—and making sure no one went without health care.”

Her husband agreed, noting it was the most satisfying thing Carole had done in her successful professional life.

“Helping found the free clinic just meant something she loved to do,” Mike Roddy said. “It became a passion for her.”

Carole J. Roddy was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and died in 2014 after a brief remission and long battle. Having the women’s wellness program named for her would have delighted Carole, her husband said. He said he hopes the donation will help women in need and give them hope, much like Dr. Randy Merrick, the clinic’s president, medical director and volunteer, gave hope to him and Carole during her illness.

“We hope that this will do something to help with women’s wellness,” Mike Roddy said. “If this will do something to help diagnose [ovarian cancer] earlier, because ovarian cancer is difficult to diagnose, then it’s worth many times that.”

He said donating to the free clinic was the perfect way to honor Carole, who kept her strength and wonderful sense of humor through her battle with cancer. He said he’s sure she’s watching over him and would probably ask him why he’s not donating more. Mike, remarried to another Carol, said giving to the free clinic felt like the right thing to do since Carole was so dedicated and proud of the free clinic.

“We had worked our whole lives and we retired early so we could do what we wanted to do,” Mike Roddy said. “It turned out that’s what she wanted to do so that’s what we did.”

Meanwhile, Bill Speiden said naming the patient waiting room after Sandra will allow her to be honored and remembered in the community which she loved and where she was actively engaged.

“I was thinking of things she’d approve of and she’d like to be remembered for,” Bill Speiden said. “She’d be tickled. She didn’t seek recognition, but we’re going to accept it when offered. We appreciate the free clinic and the opportunity to recognize a valuable member of our community.”

Sandra D. Speiden was a resident of Orange County for 45 years, during which she was involved in the Piedmont Environmental Council, the Orange County Historical Society and many agricultural and archaeological endeavors. The Speidens operated Hampstead Farm in Somerset together, but Sandra also ventured to other states for archaeological digs.

Sandra D. Speiden received a governor’s award for environmental excellence and served on the Virginia Department of Historic Resources board. The boardroom at Sitting Bull College in North Dakota was also named after Sandra, after she acquired a pipe which belonged to the chief Sitting Bull.

“Her tenacity on all her projects was second only to her sense of humor and warm smile for everyone,” Bill Speiden said.

In February 2006, Sandra died from complications subsequent to knee replacement surgery, but Bill Speiden said he continues to seek opportunities to celebrate Sandra’s life.

Sandra had a strong love for the community and was very giving, Brown said, making the patient waiting room the ideal room to honor her.

“She was very welcoming and we feel like we’re very welcoming,” Hodge added.

Bill Speiden, who was married to Sandra for 44 years, said he’ll leave the decision on how to spend the $25,000 to the clinic’s board of directors.

With the possibility of Medicaid expansion and its associated impact, substance abuse issues, mental health issues and increasing patient visits, the free clinic will put that money to good use, Hodge said, noting the clinic operates on donations.

The clinic’s chronic patient care management program is the clinic’s main program with 85 percent of its patients suffering from a chronic illness. However, with about 3,500 registered patients and more than 4,000 patient visits to the clinic annually, there are programs covering an array of health concerns.

The free clinic offers clinic hours Monday through Thursday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. by appointment, or a walk-in clinic Tuesday evenings from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. and the second Friday of the month from 9 a.m. to noon. The OCFC operates office hours Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. A donation wish list can be viewed on its website, www.orangecountyfreeclinic.org. For questions regarding naming opportunities, contact Hodge at 672-3530.

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