By Naimah shaw

True stories are always better than those that are born out of mish mashed thoughts that we culminate  in our brain. True stories serve to inspire us and the people behind those stories are those that we aspire to be. Within these individuals there is an unwitting but heightened sense of fulfillment, compassion and a longing to eradicate pain and offer assistance to those in need. Such is the case of Lew Bandy who has served in his capacity as the administrator of the Faith Care at Wesley United Methodist since 2013. Beyond his lengthy career of service, which has manifested itself into his life’s mantra to be of service to his country, county and community, Bandy attributes much of his success to his faith and prides himself on his beautiful adult daughters and his only granddaughter.

Background

Bandy has selflessly dedicated his entire career to one of service and initially had an obligation to serve two years in the U.S. Army after graduating from Youngstown State University. Bandy graduated with a B.S. in Business Administration and completed the ROTC program in 1970. Upon returning from a tour in Vietnam in 1972, Bandy chose to make a career in the Army for 22 additional years, worked at various hospitals in the area and also completed consulting work in Washington.

To sum up his background, Bandy served 24 years in the military before retiring in 2013 from Eisenhower Army Medical Center where he worked in medical administrative positions for 43 years.

What is Faith Care Medical Clinic?

The mission of Faith Care  is to provide free faith-based medical and spiritual care that treats the whole person. The clinic serves uninsured residents of Columbia County who meet or fall below 200% of the federal poverty level. The clinic started as a mission of Wesley UMC in 2002 before becoming incorporated in 2003. For the first 12 years, Faith Care operated at the Evans Surgery Center but in 2015, the clinic moved its location to Wesley UMC. Current services offered include: general medicine, dietary consultations, physical therapy, chiropractic, a pain clinic and pharmacy assistance. Doctor’s Hospital supports this clinic with radiology and laboratory services. Project Access is an entity that Faith Care refers patients to for specialty care. Project Access is located in Augusta and finds and coordinates free specialty care for patient referrals. Columbia County Government pays Project Access a fixed amount of money to find services for these patients.

Who do you think it benefits the most in the community?

With two clinics a month, 24 clinics a year and an average of 25 patient visits, Faith Care benefits an average of 600 patients a year. Overall, the entire community benefits because the clinic is another link in the chain of medical care in the community. Many indigent patients have chronic medical problems like obesity, diabetes, hypertension, arthritis and many others which require care and monitoring but do not lend themselves to emergency room visits. Since many indigent care patients utilize the emergency room for care, these chronic conditions might otherwise receive only infrequent attention. The Faith Care Clinic helps patients control these conditions, provides teaching and support and helps control these problems, ones that silently debilitate and kill without medical intervention. The community also prospers because the clinic provides training for Augusta University medical students. These medical students are future physicians who will be supporting our community and many others in the future.

Is there a specific case that stands out to you?

Although there are many similar cases that stand out, Bandy feels that within them all, resonates the feeling of hope and the fostering of a sense of belonging. “They are the patients who felt alone, disheartened and disenfranchised because they had medical problems and no place to turn for help, support or guidance,” Bandy explains. “When they found our clinic, they found hope, attention, guidance and a caring hand. Many patients have told us that our clinic turned their lives around because they found someone who cared. The care they experienced was demonstrated in the nonjudgmental welcome they received, the kindness and understanding of the staff and the time spent with them by the medical professionals.”

Bandy reiterates the sentiment expressed by his patients that action speaks louder than words. Anyone can say they care about humanity’s well-being but when you manage to bring 40 professionals together bimonthly just to volunteer their time to serve and meet the needs of the community, only then have you demonstrated that you care.

Bandy’s cheerful disposition does not go unnoticed and has since led to some of his most memorable compliments. Coworkers and patients hold him in high esteem and  always eager to be in his presence. Bandy mentions his ability to bring people together as one of his most endearing and strongest qualities and undoubtedly, our community is better because of it.

This article appears in the April 2017 issue of Augusta Family Magazine.
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