Rough Ride ben­e­fits free clinic

Rap­pa­han­nock pa­tients re­ceive $560,000 in free med­i­ca­tions an­nu­ally

Rappahannock News - - FRONT PAGE - By Larry StiLLweLL Spe­cial to the Rap­pa­han­nock News

The num­bers speak for them­selves: Nine­teen per­cent of Rap­pa­han­nock County res­i­dents un­der Medi­care age — 1 out of every 5 — are unin­sured, con­sid­er­ably more than the 14 per­cent of Vir­gini­ans in that cat­e­gory. For­tu­nately, res­i­dents who lack health in­sur­ance and whose in­come is less than twice the fed­eral poverty level qual­ify for free health care in the town of Wash­ing­ton’s lo­ca­tion of the Fauquier Free Clinic.

Bet­ter yet, the 2017 Rap­pa­han­nock Rough Ride, now in its 21st year and to be held on Satur­day, Sept. 16, will once again help the clinic fund its free med­i­cal, den­tal, and men­tal health ser­vices for Rap­pa­han­nock res­i­dents lack­ing health in­sur­ance. It’s a unique lo­cal event sup­port­ing a vi­tal com­mu­nity re­source de­voted to serv­ing many low-in­come neigh­bors.

Every September for over two decades, the Rough Ride has been an im­por­tant fundrais­ing and com­mu­nity re­la­tions event for the non­profit free clinic — it usu­ally draws a cou­ple hun­dred bi­cy­clists and nets about $20,000 that can be used to buy meds and other sup­plies

for di­rect pa­tient ser­vices.

Every one of those dol­lars, like every char­i­ta­ble dol­lar do­nated to the free clinic, pays for six dol­lars’ worth of free med­i­cal ser­vices, thanks to the scores of vol­un­teers whose ded­i­ca­tion pow­ers the free clinic’s good works.

Though its main lo­ca­tion is in War­ren­ton, and though the word Rap­pa­han­nock is lack­ing from its name, the clinic has been a vi­tal re­source for low-in­come res­i­dents of Rap­pa­han­nock County since it first opened in 1993.

Clinic direc­tor Rob Marino says the annual Rap­pa­han­nock Rough Ride is an op­por­tu­nity to re­mind every­one of that, es­pe­cially po­ten­tial Rap­pa­han­nock County pa­tients who might not other­wise re­al­ize the clinic’s many ser­vices are avail­able to them.

Ser­vices avail­able to qual­i­fy­ing pa­tients ex­tend be­yond the free clinic it­self, since it co­or­di­nates with the Fauquier hospi­tal and other med­i­cal spe­cial­ists for di­ag­nos­tic ser­vices, spe­cialty care, and pre­scrip­tion med­i­ca­tions. Rap­pa­han­nock pa­tients at the clinic re­ceive close to $560,000 in free med­i­ca­tions every year.

In the past five years, more than 450 dif­fer­ent Rap­pa­han­nock res­i­dents have ben­e­fited from free clinic ser­vices, mak­ing nearly 4,000 free clinic vis­its, in­clud­ing 754 vis­its for den­tal care and 63 for the clinic’s new men­tal health ser­vices. Cur­rently, 175 of the 2,200 reg­is­tered free clinic pa­tients are Rap­pa­han­nock res­i­dents.

About 700 of those 4,000 clinic vis­its were at the free clinic’s satel­lite site at the Rap­pa­han­nock Health De­part­ment on Main Street in Wash­ing­ton, which opened in September 2000 fol­low­ing ad­vo­cacy by res­i­dents Philip and Mer­rill Strange, Jean Lil­lard, Jen­nifer Matthews, and oth­ers. It’s open dur­ing the evening on the third Wed­nes­day of each month.

The lo­cal ser­vices are pro­vided by a team of lo­cal vol­un­teers, in­clud­ing Drs. Jerry Martin, Brooke and Anne Miller, Frank Bros­gol, and Patty Daly, as well as RNs Jen­nifer Matthews, Joanne Tep­per, Jen­nifer Rit­ter, and Sherry Pace, among oth­ers. They are sup­ported by a vol­un­teer ad­min­is­tra­tive team that in­cludes Bev Atkins, Barb Den­nis, Liz Blubaugh, Heather Young, Mary Jane Cap­pello, Sal­lie Mor­gan, Brion Pat­ter­son, Ce­cile Scott, Holly Lani­gan, and oth­ers.

The Rough Ride con­sists of a num­ber of route options, but all be­gin and end at the Wash­ing­ton Vol­un­teer Fire and Res­cue sta­tion, where res­cue squad vol­un­teers serve up a hot and hearty break­fast buf­fet while rid­ers min­gle out­side, fill­ing wa­ter bot­tles, get­ting ready, and study­ing the maps of their cho­sen routes. De­pend­ing on weather, any­where from 150 to 250 rid­ers are likely to show.

Rid­ers choose from a num­ber of routes, both paved and un­paved. The short­est and eas­i­est is a paved 12-mile round trip along Fod­der­stack Road to Flint Hill and back. More ex­pe­ri­enced bik­ers might choose the 35-mile or 60-mile paved options. And for the hardy and ad­ven­tur­ous, there are true “rough ride” options — one 20 miles long, an­other 33 miles — over gravel through Gid Brown Hol­low and out through Rock Mills and back.

“It’s not sin­gle­track moun­tain bik­ing but it’s not paved, ei­ther,” Marino says.

Group by group, they set out for their cho­sen route, fol­lowed by vol­un­teers in cars who are armed with wa­ter, snacks and first aid kits. On the long, rough routes, there are well-stocked rest stops at the Lau­rel Mills Store and the Mar­riott Ranch where rid­ers can take a break and en­joy snacks and cold re­fresh­ments.

Bik­ers as well as spon­sors can sign up for the Rough Ride on the clinic’s web­site at www.rap­pa­han­nock­roughride.org. On­line reg­is­tra­tion is $40 for adults and $20 for chil­dren. Each reg­is­tered rider will get a piece of pie (cour­tesy of Ket­tle Run High School’s Na­tional Honor So­ci­ety), a t-shirt (they can also pur­chase a Rough Ride logo cycling jer­sey for $75), and a map. After the ride, they are wel­come to lunch at Wash­ing­ton Fire & Res­cue.

It’s a full day for every­one, both rid­ers and vol­un­teers, that has re­ally caught on as a fun com­mu­nity event. Dur­ing its two decades, the Rough Ride has be­come an ex­tra­or­di­nary annual suc­cess.

“It’s a ride, not a race,” Marino says, and most im­por­tantly it’s a fun fam­ily day, a chance to spend a beau­ti­ful fall day in the coun­try, a no-pres­sure nice time with no winners or losers, and plenty of good food and good com­pan­ion­ship.

“There’s some­thing about the Rap­pa­han­nock com­mu­nity, a cool vibe” that has con­trib­uted to the Rough Ride’s steady growth over its 21 years, he mar­vels.

He cred­its the help the clinic gets from Sher­iff Con­nie Smith and her crew (who es­cort bik­ers along a short stretch of 211 at the start of one route) and from the Wash­ing­ton Fire and Res­cue vol­un­teers. That kind of com­mu­nity co­op­er­a­tion makes the Rough Ride an annual fam­ily and com­mu­nity event every­one looks for­ward to each fall.

Thanks in large part to the com­mu­nity ef­fort that pro­duces the Rap­pa­han­nock Rough Ride every year, no one in ei­ther county who is poor and unin­sured needs to miss out on med­i­cal care, den­tal care, or men­tal health care, ei­ther. So, when you see all those bike rid­ers swarm­ing through the county on Sept. 16, tip your hat and say a quiet thank you for all the good they are do­ing while hav­ing so much fun.

To find out more about the free clinic check out www. fauquier­freeclinic.org or call 540-347-0394. To sign up or learn about the ride head over to www.rap­pa­han­nock­roughride.org.

BY ALISA BOOZE-TROETSCHEL

The Rough Ride en­ters its 21st year next Satur­day, Sept. 16.

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