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Celebration to raise funds for clinic

By Staff | Jan 14, 2011

(Chronicle photo by Tricia Fulks) Pheny and John Aldis will host a Lunar New Year celebration dinner and cooking demonstration at their home at 4911 River Road in Shepherdstown on Feb. 5. The menu ranges from garden and bean curd rolls to fried dumplings, steamed fish and a traditional Chinese soup.

One Shepherdstown resident who has been around the world and back in his medical career is using the cuisine of the East as a way to raise funds for a county medical clinic.

Dr. John Aldis, the outgoing director of the Eastern Panhandle Free Clinic, will host a Lunar New Year celebration dinner and Asian cooking demonstration at his home on Feb. 5.

The clinic, located in Ranson, is a nonprofit that was established in 2001. Aldis, who has been with the clinic since its inception, said the doctors, nurses and other individuals that volunteer do “incredibly good work” for Eastern Panhandle residents in need of care but can’t afford to go anywhere else.

The clinic accepts individuals with no health insurance, Medicaid or Medicare. They also must meet the clinic’s income guidelines. It is entirely supported through grants and donations from individuals and organizations across local and state communities.

But, Aldis said, donations are down right now because of the recent economic crisis, and according to the clinic’s statistics, it serviced over 2,800 residents in 2009. And with the growth in the clinic’s services, sometimes the good work done by the volunteers isn’t enough.

“We don’t have nearly enough doctors volunteering,” Aldis said. “They can only come a little bit every month.”

The clinic provides medical exams, referrals, diagnostic testing, prescription assistance and health education programs, among other things.

“Our goal is to keep (patients) out of the emergency room,” Aldis said.

So with funds and personnel low and walk-ins high, Aldis is looking at other ways to benefit the clinic.

“With all the huge health care reform stuff, the words ‘free clinic’ never came from Obama’s mouth,” he said.

He thinks partnering with a community health organization with too much money could be advantageous to both that entity and the free clinic. They could work with one another to supplement the services the other doesn’t offer.

But in the meantime, Aldis hopes his idea of the Lunar New Year celebration will raise some money for the clinic.

The guest list is comprised almost entirely of people who have made donations to the clinic, and a limited number of tickets are still available for the Feb. 5 event.

Aldis and his wife, Pheny, who comes from Indonesia, will prepare a spread of appetizers, main dishes and light desserts that will suit vegans, vegetarians and meat eaters.

“Dynamic’s the word; or chaotic,” Aldis jokes of the social gathering he is still in the midst of planning. Shepherdstown resident and clinic volunteer Mary Stanley is helping with the planning and is excited about the feast the Aldises will offer.

And attendees will be able to mill around the house the Dr. Aldis grew up and now resides in and take in the mementos from his and Pheny’s global travels throughout his career as an embassy doctor.

To bid on tickets for the event or for more information about the clinic, visit www.wvepfc.com or call 304-724-6091. Proceeds from the night will go towards to the clinic.