The Good Samaritan Health Clinic of Pasco is what you’d call a “volunteer-driven” nonprofit. The Clinic’s five paid staff - two full-time and three part-time - couldn’t serve even a small fraction of the 3,500-some patients who receive medical and dental services from the clinic annually. Volunteers – physicians, dentists, physician assistants, nurses, pharmacists, and clerical staff – make the Clinic run, and they are a present-day embodiment of the Good Samaritan in the parable that Jesus tells in Luke’s New Testament Gospel.
Over the past couple of years, I’ve had the privilege of serving – on a pro bono basis – as “governance counsel” to the Clinic’s Board of Directors and CEO. In this capacity, I’ve worked closely with the Board President, Dr. Steve Goldman, Vice President Ellie Paladine, and CEO Melissa Fahy, along with other Board members serving on the Clinic Board’s Governance Task Force, helping them clarify the Board’s governing role and put a modern committee structure in place. As I’ve worked with the Clinic, I’ve been impressed by the hundreds of hours that Steve, Ellie, and other volunteers devote to serving the Clinic’s patients, who lack health insurance, don’t qualify for Medicare or Medicaid and can’t afford to pay for medical or dental care. And I’ve been amazed that these incredibly busy community leaders can carve out any time at all for the Clinic from their crowded schedules. They’re not only true Good Samaritans, they also embody the spirit that fuels America’s thriving and essential nonprofit sector. Can you imagine what it would be like for millions of Americans without the modern Good Samaritans who volunteer precious time and energy in nonprofits of all shapes and sizes all over this country?
I was deeply touched a few weeks ago, when Barbara Krai, my wife and close professional associate, and I attended Good Sam’s annual Nurses Gala. I was bowled over when, to my utter surprise, Ellie Paladine invited me to the podium after dinner, and I was presented with a lovely engraved crystal platter in recognition of my pro bono service as the Clinic’s governance counsel. I felt honored, but I was keenly aware that my contribution paled by comparison with the many hours that Steve Goldman, Ellie Paladine, and many other volunteers give to Good Sam day after day after day. They are, indeed, latter-day Good Samaritans.
Doug Eadie and Ellie Paladine
Doug Eadie and Barbara Krai