In 2006 Dr. Nicholas Morris and his wife Madelyn, a surgical nurse, served a medical mission aboard the U.S. Naval Hospital Ship, the U.S.S. Mercy in Indonesia. The experience left a profound mark, and became the inspiration for the Heart Mountain Volunteer Medical Clinic back home in Powell, WY. The need existed. The concept of a free clinic staffed by volunteer providers and lay people, funded by private donations without federal or state monies, was shared with citizens in the community. The response was overwhelming. People rallied from all walks of life, clergy, businessmen & women, civic organizations and individuals worked together, breathing life into the plans.
The late David Pollard, a retired Franciscan Priest, was a great advocate for the Clinic. When difficulties presented, Pollard never wavered, offering support and encouragement to those involved in the mission. Pollard was no stranger to adversity and spent most of his life championing causes for those in need, even marching with Martin Luther King in the sixties. In 2008 Heart Mountain Volunteer Medical Clinic opened its Clinic Doors for business in Powell. Most of those who knew Pollard feel his presence with us today. His last campaign in life was to see the forgotten people he cared so much about, receive free medical care.
Dr. Stephen Mainini of Cody, a regular volunteer provider working in the Powell Clinic, and Dr. Morris, became keenly aware of the growing need to serve a broader base of patients in the Big Horn Basin. The two collaborated with others in the community to expand the Clinic's outreach, and formed the Cody Organizing Leadership Team (COLT). The group worked to raise funds, recruit & train volunteers, and established the second branch of the Heart Mountain Volunteer Medical Clinic in Cody, in August 2010. Dr. Mainini continues to serve the clinic as Medical Director and regular provider seeing patients through the Clinic.
In October of 2015, with the opening of a federally-funded community health center in Powell, it was decided to close the Powell branch of HMVMC and to concentrate and expand our efforts in Cody. While the Powell clinic no longer exists, HMVMC continues to see patients from Powell. In 2015, the Board of Directors voted to change the name to Heart Mountain Free Clinic.
The journey continues to bring joy to volunteers and relief to many patients who otherwise have no healthcare. We have a mantra that volunteers recite before tending to our patients each night, and it goes hand in hand with our mission: