As the second oldest service club in the country, the Sertoma Club has a long history of serving communities and improving lives. Founded in 1912 in Kansas City, its mission has always been to improve the quality of life for those impacted by hearing loss. The Sertoma Club of Kingsport has been doing that since it began in 1962. Still going strong, the local group continues to support the Mountain Region Speech and Hearing Center (MRSHC) which it co-founded in 1974 with the Junior League of Kingsport.
The organization's latest donation - in the amount of $19,000 - was presented to MRSHC at a recent Sertoma Club meeting. The donation will help enable the MRSHC to continue providing services to people of all ages, from birth to geriatrics. Last year, 1,643 people were served at the center, and the needs continue to grow.
Mountain Region Speech and Hearing Center is a non-profit agency that provides services for people of Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia with hearing, speech, language and swallowing disorders. Services are rendered regardless of an individual’s ability to pay. “We serve the entire Appalachian region whether the patient can pay or not. We’ve never denied anybody,” said Karen Dale, finance manager at MRSHC.
Throughout the year, the Sertoma Club of Kingsport raises funds for the center by holding fundraisers such as the Dancing, Dining & Ducks event in the summer and working a concession booth at the Appalachian Fair. The money raised from these events helps to support the center. In addition, many Sertoma members personally provide financial support. Karen, also a Sertoma member, expressed appreciation for all Sertoma does for MRSHC.
“The center could not make it without the support of the Sertoma Club,” she said. “They keep us running, and without their support we would be in trouble.”
According to Dr. Richard Carter, Sertoma president, being able to help so many people by supporting MRSHC is very rewarding. Several years ago, the center received two thank you notes from clients, along with pictures of their high school graduation. “They said they greatly appreciated all the years of service that the center had given to them and that they could not have done it without them,” he said.
Sertomans also sponsor the annual ‘Jackets for Children’ program, which provides new jackets for needy children in the community during the Christmas season. The coats are given not only to children who come to MRSHC, but to their siblings.
“Usually if one of them needs a coat, all of them need one,” Karen explained. Twenty children received coats this year.
The name Sertoma comes from the words SERvice TO MAnkind - an appropriate title for an organization so dedicated to the cause of providing vital speech and hearing services for those in our region.
How can the community help to support their cause? “Join the Sertoma Club. We’re always looking for membership that can support us,” said Karen.
Meetings are held on the second and fourth Mondays of each month at noon at the Food City on 1205 North Eastman Road. Participating in or supporting the fundraisers throughout the year and making personal donations are also ways you can support Sertoma and Mountain Region Speech and Hearing Center. To learn more about the Sertoma Club of Kingsport, contact Karen Dale at (423) 246-4600. To learn more about Mountain Region Speech and Hearing Center, visit the website at www.mrshc.org.