Clinic is free but money doesn't hurt

bmorem@thetribunenews.comNovember 7, 2012 

As Monty Python used to note, “And now for something completely different.” Well, this isn’t that different; just several updates on past columns.

For openers, it’s been a little over a year since Dr. Ahmad Nooristani opened the doors to his Noor Free Clinic in San Luis Obispo. Indeed, in the event you missed a couple of columns on the remarkable Afghan-born doctor and his three-year quest to bring medical care for those without either insurance or the means of paying for care, here’s what he and his dedicated staff of volunteer doctors and nurses have accomplished since October 2011:

• The clinic has had 1,350 visits for medical care, physical therapy and nutrition classes.

• It performed 360 eye exams while giving out $143,600 in prescription glasses.

• It did in-house lab work valued at $74,687 at Medi-Cal rates.

• It saved $78,000 in prescriptions for patients.

Now here’s a remarkable angle: 6,400 volunteer hours — valued at $364,000 — have been amassed in the past year with the clinic being open only eight hours a week.

Located at the B-4 space at 1428 Phillips Lane in the Bruington Professional Building, the Noor Clinic is open Fridays and Saturdays from 1 to 5 p.m. Eye exams are scheduled for Friday and Saturday mornings. The clinic can be reached at 439-1797.

Although some folks without means use Community Health Centers, they’re charged a sliding fee based on income. The Noor Clinic is just as noted, free. Truly a remarkable effort from everyone involved.

Yet though it’s called a “free” clinic, there are fixed costs of rent and utilities and supplies.

So here’s the pitch: If you’re looking to make a tax-deductible, charitable donation before the end of the year, why not steer it to the clinic?

•  •  •

In August, LaVerne and Lurline Bucy found themselves in thisspace as celebrants of their 75th wedding anniversary — an almost singular feat worldwide.

As devoted to each other as a pair of swans, when asked the secret, LaVerne, 95, gave the simple, yet profound, reply: “We promised until death do us part.”

About a week after the column was published, I got a call from Hollywood casting director Emma Nelson. As it happens, Kraft Foods Group is celebrating its 75th anniversary for its signature macaroni and cheese, and Nelson was casting about for unique 75-year events for an Internet advertisement for mac and cheese.

Nelson got hold of the Bucys’ daughter, Mary French, who had a phone interview; a list of questions was sent to the Bucys, and the couplereportedly loved the process. Unfortunately, they weren’t chosen, but the mere fact that they were considered has to have been a kick in the pants.

•  •  •

Also last summer, Henrietta Tognazzini, 90, and Bob Wiese, 91, were recognized for still playing in the San Luis Obispo County Band. (And, yes, for the record, I love my elders.)

Henrietta has been playing sax since the fifth grade; Bob plays the bassoon, an instrument he gave up in 1941 but returned to in 1998 as a member of the band.

Now, I’m just guessing here, but I’ll wager that all the breath it takes to play each of those brasses has probably kept the two young and in the pink.

Here’s the update: After the piece came out, band member Bill Hrnjak asked if I’d be a guest conductor at the band’s 18th annual benefit concert for the homeless, with the Maxine Lewis Memorial Homeless Shelter the recipient of donations. Well, it’s tough to say no to such a résumé builder.

“Around the World in 80 Minutes” is the theme and is set for 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 18, at the Mount Carmel Lutheran Church at 1701 Frederick St., off Grand Avenue in San Luis Obispo. Admission is free, but a free-will donation would be terrific.

This could be a dicey proposition. My musical abilities are limited to third-grade piano lessons from Mrs. Leutz, and an occasional toot on a kazoo from time to time. Bill assures me, though, that if I can count to three, the band will do everything in its estimable power to try to keep me from coming across as a total buffoon.

The music will be grand, the cause is a good one and it should be a heck of a lot of fun. This is an open invitation to come out Nov. 18. Besides leading the band in “King Cotton March” by John Philip Sousa, I’d like to meet you and say hi.

Bill Morem can be reached at bmorem@the or at 781-7852.

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