St. Mary’s Legacy Clinic salutes volunteers at appreciation luncheon

By Dan McWilliams

The St. Mary’s Legacy Clinic held its second annual Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon on Nov. 2 at St. Thomas the Apostle Church in Lenoir City.

Several dozen volunteers attended a Mass and the luncheon, with many of them recognized at the latter event, including Mass celebrant Father Bill Gahagan and Glenmary Brother Craig Digmann. Gene Carter and Star Lakavage were named co-volunteers of the year.

“This day is our chance to honor our volunteers and to thank them for being so generous with their time and their talents,” said Sister Mariana Koonce, RSM, MD, director of Health Services for the Diocese of Knoxville. “They provide so much for the patients. We couldn’t operate the clinic without our volunteers, and we just want to make sure they know how much they are appreciated.”

The choice of a November date for the luncheon is not a coincidence.

“Since it’s the month of Thanksgiving, it’s a good opportunity to both thank God for his many blessings for the clinic and also to thank the volunteers themselves,” Sister Mariana said.

The volunteers serve the clinic as it makes its mobile-medical stops in Washburn, Decatur, Crab Orchard, Rutledge, and Athens. The mobile clinic was launched in 2013 and began to see patients in January 2014.

“We have five sites. We go six days a month,” Sister Mariana said.

At the end of the luncheon, Sister Martha Naber, RSM, mission liaison for Tennova Healthcare, and Sister Mariana anointed the hands of the volunteers, continuing a Sisters of Mercy tradition begun during the days of St. Mary’s Medical Center.

Providing entertainment before the luncheon was the Pickin’ ’n’ Grinnin’ Bluegrass Jam band from Dandridge. ■

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