Sunday, November 28, 2010

Tangier Island Health Clinic

Tangier Island Health Clinic, Dr. David Nichols Health Clinic

Dr. David Nichols

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I am going to take you not only out of Crisfield but out of Maryland for this post. So sit back and prepare to take a trip back in time to Tangier Island. 

I recently ran across these photo of the dedication and grand opening of the new health clinic on Tangier Island, taken on assignment for the Crisfield-Somerset County Times on August 29, 2010. I had planned on using them shortly after the story ran in the paper on September 8,  but I was running so far behind they ended up being pushed aside and eventually filed. I have been using my spare time organizing  photos, and came across these, certainly deserving of being posted, no matter how late the date.

The clinic was dedicated in honor of Dr. David Nichols, who has spent over 30 years flying to the island to care for patients. It was a bittersweet event, as Dr. Nichols has terminal cancer. Hundreds of people came out not only to be a part of the dedication, but to honor the man they considered both doctor and friend.

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell,  Rep. Rob Wittman,  and Virgina Department of Health commissioner Dr. Karen Remley, were among the many officials and non-residents who joined islanders for the dedication and tour of the new clinic,  followed by a dinner reception.

Is is important to note that Dr. Nichols, who was named "County Doctor of the Year" in 2006, by Staff Care, Inc., headquartered in Texas, was awarded the first-ever "County Doctor of the Decade" award during the dedication by Staff Care representatives who made the trek from Texas to Tangier. On top of that,  Dr. Nichols received a humanitarian award from the Virginia Helicopters Association. Dr. Nichols received many gifts and awards on that day, including the heart-felt gratitude of the people of Tangier, something that I consider to be the best of all gifts.

Most people who visit Tangier Island see only a slice of life on the tiny island.  Recently, many sport's fans not familiar with the island were  introduced to its people who were spotlighted in ESPN commercials. For those of you who have touched elbows with Tangier Island, I hope these photos show you another side - the human side of people caring for each other, and giving back, something that is prevalent on the Eastern Shore.  I know I was truly moved by the love and warmth that were very much a part of that special day. In all my trips to Tangier Island, that was my first meeting with Dr. Nichols. I almost skipped out on that assignment. I'm glad I didn't. I took away more than just photographs.

Many caught the boats from Crisfield, MD. and Reedsville, VA...

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