Two years ago, Linda Perdue went with her church’s 55+ group to help clean one day at Victory Health Partners.
And in a way, she never left.
“I saw what they were doing, and I just fell in love with it,” said Perdue, a member of Cottage Hill Baptist Church, Mobile. “So, I reached out to their volunteer coordinator to see how I could get involved.”
Victory Health Partners, a clinic aimed at providing affordable care for community members without medical insurance, is “like a family,” she said.
It got started in 2003 when Dr. Robert D. Lightfoot and his wife, Tami, returned from medical missions trips and decided to start caring for the underserved in their own community too. Now Victory has grown into a partnership of hundreds of volunteers, medical providers and churches.
And that includes Perdue.
‘Whatever needs to be done’
“I started out working one day a week, but now I work Mondays and Tuesdays,” she said. “I greet patients, check them in — whatever needs to be done.”
On the clinic’s first day in 2003, they saw 12 patients. Now they see around 19,000 annually from all over the Gulf Coast region. It’s grown to be a multispecialty clinic — they provide primary care as well as optometry, wound care, women’s health, minor surgery, x-rays, EKGs and lab diagnostics.
They can also offer low-cost options for referrals to specialists like orthopedic surgeons. Kimberly A. Garrett, director of Victory Health Partners, said that’s a big part of how sponsorships have “come together to solve a community problem.”
“We are first and foremost a Christian ministry. We’re able to pray with our patients and share our faith with people from all walks of life, beliefs and backgrounds,” Garrett said. “In sharing our faith with kindness and compassion and through our actions, we’ve seen testimonies and stories of God working through this place. People have heard about Jesus here for the first time. It’s just amazing.”
Perdue said she’s watched firsthand how the clinic makes an impression on its patients. Talking about it brings tears to her eyes.
“Just recently, I had an older lady tell me as she was leaving how much it meant that our staff treated her like a real person even though she didn’t have insurance,” Perdue said. “It’s a blessing to get to work here and help reach them not only physically but spiritually. I love it.”
EDITOR’S NOTE — On Sept. 2, United Way of Southwest Alabama named Linda Perdue a Heart of Gold award winner for her work with Victory Health Partners.