MOORESVILLE – Bill and Mary Hurt don’t let a day of their retirement go by without impacting lives at HealthReach Community Clinic, which provides free medical care and medication to Iredell County residents who have no health insurance and minimal resources to pay for care.
The commitment hasn’t gone unnoticed. On May 6, the dynamic duo traveled to Raleigh, where they were awarded the Governor’s Volunteer Service Award, given annually to 25 outstanding North Carolina volunteers.
“Without a doubt, the contributions Bill and Mary make individually are remarkable,” said HealthReach Executive Director Sabrina Niggels, who nominated the couple. “As a team, however, they are truly inspiring. After more than 57 years of marriage, they function together with a seamless efficiency, each completely knowing and able to anticipate what the other is thinking,”
Niggels met Bill and Mary in the spring of 2018 when she joined the staff of HealthReach. “Although Bill and Mary were listed on a lengthy roster of volunteers, I had no idea just how crucial a role they played in our clinic,” she recalled. “I soon learned, however, that they are the very heart of HealthReach.”
Without fail, Mary is among the first to arrive at the clinic’s front desk every day to greet and assist the more than 100 patients – one of the toughest tasks to undertake at any clinic. When Mary is not checking in patients, answering calls from physicians and handling medication pickups, she is organizing supplies, cleaning out shredders, responding to requests for medical records or preparing for the next day’s clinic.
Mary also serves on the committee for HealthReach’s annual fundraising luncheon. For an upcoming event, she is the chair of the decorations subcommittee and has already committed to making all the floral table arrangements by hand.
“Beyond the walls of our clinic, Mary is our biggest cheerleader, promoting the work we do and convincing others to join forces,” Niggel said.
While Mary is the heart and soul of internal operations, Bill maintains the building, a 3,300-square-foot facility with aging fixtures and equipment.
Niggels marvels at Bill’s energy level and commitment – for a man of any age.
“By far the most significant contribution Bill has made over the past year is facility renovations,” she said. “Nearly every evening as our clinic is closing up, Bill comes in through the back door with his tools, ready to get started on his shift.”
During the past six months, Bill – mostly by himself – has removed and capped off toilets and faucets in six bathrooms not in use, converting them into storage closets with new doors so they could be accessed from the main hallway; disassembled, removed and replaced old shelving; repaired and replaced damaged drywall; built new stairway railings to improve access for volunteers with limited mobility; and performed other tasks to keep the facility in operation, from installing new equipment to repairing plumbing leaks.
“Bill will not leave a job until edges are perfectly straight, surfaces are perfectly smooth and workspaces are cleaner than when he found them,” Niggels said.
But the Hurts would be the last people to boast about their contributions, she added.
“In spite of all the miracles Bill and Mary accomplish for HealthReach and for so many Iredell County neighbors in need, they remain as low-key and humble as anyone I have ever known,” Niggels said. “They quietly go about their work, only asking questions when they need clarification, yet always completing an enormous amount of work and taking the initiative to make our clinic, our community and this world a better place. I believe that Bill and Mary Hurt are two people who share one heart. One beautiful, generous heart that beats with humility and grace.”