Church Hill City Hall was "flocked" Tuesday evening by members of the Church Hill Medical Mission, L-R, Dr. Barbie Skelton, Dr. Gary Bush, and the clinic's administrative director Cathy Doerr. (photos by Jeff Bobo)
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CHURCH HILL — There may be a lot of people who'd like to see Church Hill City Hall get "flocked," but on Tuesday evening members of the former Church Hill Free Medical Clinic did something about it.
Not only did City Hall get flocked, it got super-flocked, with an extra flocking thrown in for good measure.
The double-flocking, which entailed the placement of 75 pink flamingos on the City Hall front lawn, was done to raise awareness about a new fundraiser being conducted by the newly renamed Church Hill Medical Mission.
The clinic located in the Church Hill Shopping Center off of Richmond Street will no longer named the free clinic because, due to funding shortfalls, the clinic is will be charging patients $5 per visit beginning Sept. 1.
With approximately 140 patient visits per month, the new fee is intended to help offset an estimated annual operating deficit in excess of $6,000.
Hopefully the flocking-for-hire scheme will generate additional revenue for the clinic.
For a fee of $25 clinic staff will place 25 pink flamingos in the front yard of the victim of your choice within 10 miles of the clinic. Outside the 10 mile radius the regular flocking fee is $40.
A "super flocking" consists of 50 flamingos and costs $80.
Clinic volunteer Dr. Gary Bush has already participated in two flockings involving a couple of pastors. The first pastor was flocked unprovoked by the second pastor, and the second pastor was then flocked the first pastor in retaliation.
The birds are placed on lawns overnight, and victims wake up in the morning to a pink surprise. A sign on the lawn reads, "You've been flocked by the Church Hill Free Medical Clinic."
They stay for 24 hours, and the next day they have disappeared.
A person can also purchase flocking insurance. For a $20 fee the clinic will guarantee that you won't be flocked.
Flocking season runs from July 15 to Sept. 8.
The clinic is part of the Rogersville based Of One Accord ministry.
In order to have someone flocked call the clinic at (423) 256-2408; or Of One Accord at (423) 921-8044.
Of One Accord Ministry will end the flocking season with a Flamingo Gala on the grounds at Allandale Mansion on Thursday, Sept. 25 from 6 to 8 p.m.
Tickets can be purchased for $25, beginning Aug. 15 at either the Shepherd's Center in Rogersville or the Free Clinic in Church Hill.
Flockings may be funny way to raise money, but Of One accord director Sheldon Livesay said the need for the extra funding is no laughing matter.
"All of our programs operated by our ministry, except for one, ended 2013 with a deficit," Livesay said. "Yet we are seeing an increased demand for all of the services we provide, especially in the areas of summer food, home repairs, and medical care. I asked staff and volunteers to cut back on operating costs, and all of our programs put cost-savings plans into place."
Livesay added, "Then I asked them to come up with some fundraising ideas, and they came up with these flamingo events, which sound like a lot of fun. We are already getting a great response to the Flocking Campaign."
Clinic medical director Dr. David Schilling noted that the clinic has always asked patients for a $5 donation, but it wasn't a mandatory fee until now.
"Although the Affordable Care Act was supposed to make healthcare affordable for all Americans, many of our patients do not qualify for government subsidized health care simply because they don't make enough money," Schilling said. "The demand for our services has increased over the past year and we can no longer afford to provide totally free care."
Beginning Sept. 1, patients will be required to pay $5 for office visits and a $5 processing fee for all medications obtained from pharmaceutical companies, such as insulin and other diabetes or heart medications.
Schilling added, "Patients will receive quite a bit of care for that $5, which includes doctor visits, labs, diabetes education and testing supplies, emergency office visits at my own practice; respiratory and dermatology care or oral surgery when needed, as well as eye care, and simple X-rays and EKGs."
Donations to the Church Hill Free Medical Clinic can be mailed to PO Box 166, Church Hill, TN 37642.
Donations to help offset the cost of general operating support for Of One Accord can be mailed to PO Box 207, Rogersville, TN 37857.