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The residents of Gleason and the surrounding rural community have been lucky to have access to such quality healthcare that the Gleason Clinic has been providing for years. 

 In November of 1988, Dr. Volker Winkler of the McKenzie Medical Center opened a satellite clinic at 208 West Main Street across from the Bank of Gleason. The first two employees to man the clinic were Julious “J.C.” Carey, PA, and Tammy Etheridge. They saw only two patients the very first day! 

The pace of healthcare was slower during those early days of the clinic, and it was not uncommon for J.C. to sit and talk jovially with patients for an hour or maybe even two. J.C., a native of Kennett, Missouri, had grown up in a small town, so he understood the Gleason community and its people perfectly. 

Two years after opening the clinic they added a nurse and stayed in that location until 1994 when the clinic moved to the current location at 105 North Cedar Street. 

 J.C. went on to purchase the Gleason Clinic in 2005 from Dr. Winkler. J.C. and his staff provided Gleason with the ultimate hometown healthcare, even making house calls. He was so devoted to his patients that at the end of every day his desk was clear of  any patient’s file that had not been seen and appropriately dealt with. 

 J.C. loved to support the community in more ways than just seeing patients. Anyone who came to know him learned of his great generosity. He was not only interested in meeting the medical needs of his patients but any other need if he found he could be of help – be it financial or emotional.  

Numerous community service programs were started and supported under him: Girl Talk, a Hunter Safety course, and bringing Santa Claus to town to name a few. Being a big patron of the sports, he donated hundreds of free physicals to the athletes of Gleason School. He enjoyed attending the local ballgames, and you could find him on the sidelines grinning and laughing with the people of his community. 

J.C. was granted the honor of being the Grand Marshall during the annual Tater Town parade due to all of his phenomenal community support. Supporting the students of Gleason School who chose to pursue a career in the medical field was also important to him and, starting in 2008, he began offering a $1000 one-time scholarship to a graduating senior pursuing training in this area. However, his support of academia did not end there. He was  instrumental in starting the Physician Assistant program at Bethel University and taught an ethics class there as well. 

To everyone’s shock, J.C. Carey passed away at his home on April 22, 2013. He had served our community for almost twenty-five years, and had been looking forward to his 25th-Year Health Fair that he had planned three weeks from the date of his passing. This Health Fair  was to have concessions, free health screenings, and music, and ambulances, a medical helicopter, and the fire department had planned  to come and demonstrate how their vehicles worked. 

There is no confusion as to why he was chosen Physician Assistant of the Year in Tennessee or why he received the honor of serving as Grand Marshall, not once but twice. 

One thing was clear: he loved Gleason. As a further testament to that, other than his countless hours of service, was the discovery, after his death, of a box under his desk labeled “The Life and Times of Gleason.” In it were newspaper clippings, pictures and other cherished mementoes he had kept during his life in Tater Town.  

Authenticity, substance, benevolence, integrity, and wit do not even begin to describe his character; they only scratch the surface. Life goes on, and this is true of  the Gleason Clinic as well. 

It was J.C.’s wish that the clinic be sold back to the McKenzie Medical Center. While J.C.’s clinic started out seeing two patients a day it now sees fifty to sixty patients a day,  a far stretch from just two!  

Presently, there are a total of thirteen employees. Healthcare providers include Nurse Practitioner Tanya Arnold and Physician Assistant Clayton King, who offer top-notch healthcare and a wide range of services. 

According to McKenzie Medical Center’s website, the Gleason Clinic offers “care to patients of all ages for minor, acute and chronic illnesses, minor surgical procedures such as skin lesion removals, joint injections, immunizations, EKG,  pulmonary function testing, Holter monitoring, drug testing, well woman exams including breast exams and pap smears, EPSDT exams for children and young adults, Medicare wellness physicals, and annual wellness exams for men and women, which are covered by most insurance companies.” 

J.C. would be very pleased that the Gleason Clinic continues his legacy by  insuring that the  community he loved  has access to high quality health care offered by highly qualified and caring professionals.

(Story by Ben Rollins)

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