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Smithville clinic opens; celebrates progress

Reported by: Tyler Hill
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Updated: 6/01 10:52 pm
SMITHVILLE, Miss. (WTVA) — You never quite understand how fragile life is until death is waiting on your doorstep.

Sherry Reeves and her family know that all too well. They're survivors of the April 27, 2011 tornado.

"There was so much tragedy that day just in our family," Reeves said. "I had six broken vertebrae, a punctured lung and 37 staples in my head."

Her family was scattered across the yard. Her sister wasn't even breathing at the time.

But a stroke of good fortune went her way. Just across the street was Access Family Health Services, a hometown clinic that saved her family's life.

"They were just going to every person and trying to get them over to the clinic to where they could patch them up," Reeves explained.

The tornado destroyed the clinic. For the past three years, people have worked diligently to open a new one, and on Sunday, they celebrated success.

"I don't think we ever wavered in our determination that this clinic would be rebuilt," said Executive Director Marilyn Summerford. "But I think we've just been so blessed that all the pieces have fallen in place."

The nearly $3 million facility is more than double in size than the previous one, has nine exam rooms and even features a safe room.

It also offers more services to patients like an x-ray unit and an in-house pharmacy.

"We actually have the complete package where people can do one-stop shop for health care," Summerford said.

But more than just helping the community, the clinic looks after the nation's heroes. It's a VA clinic, so it provides health care to military veterans without making them drive to Memphis or Jackson for treatments.

"This is a way to have veterans and the community served at one location," said U.S Senator Roger Wicker. "It represents an efficiency and good medicine."

And it's that good medicine Reeves will always remember.

"We already know what they will do," Reeves said. "They are united as one."

The clinic has served patients in temporary modules at the old location since the storm. Clinic workers will begin seeing patients in the new building next to Smithville United Methodist Church Monday.
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