STUART-Having partnerships with different agencies can better the lives of others in the community. Volunteers in Medicine (VIM) Clinic has been providing free health care for uninsured Martin County residents for more than 20 years. We’ve established relationships with various organizations within the area that’s benefited an enormous amount of patients.

Joe Murphy has been a VIM patient since 2008. He’s battled an alcohol addiction that’s led to several health issues. He was referred to VIM by a physician in the area. When he first came to VIM he had high blood pressure, polyps in his nose, and atrial fibrillation (a-fib). These were problems that lingered for a while because Murphy didn’t have health insurance. Since coming to VIM, his blood pressure is under control, the polyps are removed from his nose, and his a-fib has improved.

Murphy noticed his drinking habits would increase whenever he wasn’t working. It was the main reason for his problems. Due to VIM’s association with Love and Hope in Action (LAHIA), Murphy was able to become a volunteer. He’s there serving breakfast and dinner for the patrons at the soup kitchen. Since volunteering at LAHIA, he hasn’t attempted to drink alcohol.

“I’m basically retired now and volunteering takes up my time. I had a little problem with drinking and it helps with that also. LAHIA has worked out really well. The volunteers are really nice and it’s a good group to be with” said Murphy.

He’s been a resident in Martin County since 1989, coming from Palm Beach County. When he’s not volunteering at LAHIA, Murphy is either fishing or taking care of his dog. He owes his life to VIM and LAHIA.

“I probably wouldn’t be around if it wasn’t for them. I had a-fib and I had no clue, I could’ve had a heart attack or a stroke at any time,” said Murphy.

Miranda Crawford became a VIM patient in 2014. She volunteers at Jensen Beach Christian Church, a place that has recently connected with VIM. Crawford donates her time to the food pantry on Saturday mornings. She was excited that VIM and Jensen Beach Christian Church created a liaison.

“They’re very close to me and they’ve been by my side through everything including my medication and back problems. I was so excited that VIM and the church joined together, because I know they’re people who can use Volunteers in Medicine Clinic’s help,” said Crawford.

Before becoming a patient at VIM, Crawford dealt with severe back pain, anxiety, and weight loss. The problems continued to build because she didn’t have any health insurance. Now that she’s a patient at VIM, her problems are getting better. Her back pain has improved and she’s able to control her anxiety.

“They’ve completely changed my life and changed my whole outlook on everything. Finally I’m on medication that helps me sleep with my back pain,” said Crawford.

She raises three kids and her little sister with the help of her boyfriend who works two jobs. They’ve been Martin County residents for five years moving from Arkansas. If Crawford never knew about VIM and Jensen Beach Christian Church, she probably would’ve moved back to Arkansas.

The VIM Clinic provides free health services for uninsured Martin County residents. Patients must have an annual income below $24,120. For more information visit our website at vimclinic.net.