|By Lori Szepelak
Jean and Mitchell Czerpak of Springfield checked in with triage nurse Anna Jemiolo at the monthly New Covenant Free Clinic at Bethany Assembly of God in Agawam on the evening of Nov. 5. The couple are parishioners of the church.
Reminder Publications photo by Lori Szepelak
AGAWAM – Dr. Kevin Snow and Bethany Assembly of God Executive Pastor Timothy Reed had an epiphany while on a trip to Africa in 2008.
“During an African mission we spent countless days working in clinics and during one four-day stretch we saw close to 900 patients,” said Reed during an interview with Reminder Publications. “When we returned from Africa, we wanted to make available here at the church what we did there.”
What Snow and Reed created was the New Covenant Free Clinic, a medical clinic offered once a month at the church on the first Tuesday from 6 to 8 p.m.
Snow and a host of volunteer nurses provide non-emergency care for people age 18 and older.
“For me, it’s a command from God to help people by any way we can,” Reed said prior to the start of the Nov. 5 clinic. “I get great joy from supporting the program.”
Snow, an internal medicine specialist, echoed those sentiments.
“God gives us gifts to help others,” he said. “God blessed me with the ability to provide this service.”
From blood pressure and pulse checks to colds and sore throats, Snow has treated hundreds of patients in the three years since the program’s inception. On the evening of Nov. 5, Snow treated four patients during the two-hour clinic, along with assistance from his wife of 29 years, Teresa, who is a registered nurse.
For Mitchell and Jean Czerpak of Springfield, parishioners of the church and members of the choir, the free clinic offering is invaluable.
“Considering the shape of the economy and the costs associated with going to a doctor or emergency room, this is a good service that we appreciate,” Mitchell Czerpak said.
Snow noted that after a health history is reviewed and vital signs are taken, he assesses the patient.
“We do what we can to be proactive,” he said, noting prescriptions can be written and referrals made.
As the holiday season fast approaches, many in our region will find ways to give back because they are grateful for what they have been blessed with in their lives. For Snow and Reed and their team of volunteers, they feel blessed they can offer their talents and resources every month to help individuals who may be facing difficult financial times receive the health care they so “desperately need.”
“People always acknowledge their gratitude for this service,” Snow said. “We offer the gift of hope.”
“When I talk to people, I see the wonderful reaction on their face after they meet with the doctor,” Reed said. “It’s people helping people and we are fortunate to have the means to do it.”
All medical records are kept in strict confidence, according to Reed.
For more information on the clinic at 580 Main St., call 363-0098 and leave a message. Reed noted that an individual associated with the clinic will return your call.
The next scheduled clinic is Dec. 3 from 6 to 8 p.m.
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