Ray Norris is a volunteer who works night and day as a volunteer pharmacist for the Community Free Clinic. Ray is at the clinic every Tuesday and Thursday morning providing prescription refills to the patients of the clinic. Ray works every Tuesday and Thursday during the evening when we are seeing patients of the clinic. This is the times Ray is working in the clinic. Ray also works endless hours going to local pharmacies picking up medication to stock the pharmacy. He also does the scheduling of the other volunteer pharmacists and techs who also work at the clinic as volunteers.
When Ray Norris heard that a group of community leaders were planning to open a free clinic, he wanted to be involved with the pharmacy. He was in the process of retiring and made a commitment to the clinic steering committee to manage the pharmacy. Thanks to Ray, the pharmacy is a licensed, state board approved pharmacy versus a dispensary like most of the other clinics in the state and other states. This component sets the clinic apart from other clinics, and this would not be possible if it had not been for Ray Norris. Ray retired after running his own retail pharmacy for many years as the new clinic was preparing to open. He donated all of his equipment from his retail pharmacy; shelves, computers, etc. He even brought his tech Bess Newsom that had worked for him for 20 years. Most of the volunteer pharmacists will tell you that they volunteer here because of Ray, their commitment to him, as well as their own commitment to the mission of the clinic and community.
Ray Norris is committed to his community and particularly to the patients of the Community Free Clinic. Ray's only goal with his volunteer work at the clinic is to serve the medically underserved of our community. The community of Decatur has never seen anyone so committed to serving others for all of the right reasons as Ray Norris. Ray gives of himself tirelessly. Even if there are enough volunteer pharmacists and techs to cover clinic and refill days, Ray is always there to offer support and help. Most of the volunteer physicians who work at the clinic always comment, "I don't know what we would do without Ray."
Since the clinic opened the pharmacy has dispensed over 2.5 million dollars’ worth of free medication to the clinic patients. The clinic has an overwhelming number of chronic patients with diabetes and hypertension that have been unable to get their medications regularly, therefore, suffering the long-term effects of uncontrolled chronic illnesses.
Thanks to all of the volunteers of the clinic, these uninsured members of the Decatur community do not have to worry about affording doctor's visits or their medications any more.
Ray Norris is the "Heart Beat" of the Community Free Clinic; therefore I believe he is the best nomination for the Heart of the Community award.