As of August 31, 2017, we proudly and thankfully announce that 700 Oglethorpe Avenue is our permanent home. Please read the letter below from Tracy Thompson, Mercy’s Executive Director, as she recalls Mercy’s journey through past years.
Dear Mercy Sojourners:
Twelve years ago (and some change), I became your Executive Director. My first day, Jud Shelnutt came in and handed me the keys to the building, the passwords to Quickbooks, and a smile and said, “Good Luck!” The building, Mercy’s 2nd home, was located on Park Ave. and was not ideal. My office was in the basement. There was a large closet that I shared with multiple vermin and feral cats. In order to turn on the lights, you had to walk approximately 20 feet in the pitch black to find the light switch. This was really interesting when Tommy Johnson accidentally locked me in the building with a patient and I ran into him in the dark while he was trying to get out! Needless to say, this sent me on a mission to find a new home for Mercy.
In 2007 (God heard my cries!), we were able to partner with Athens Pregnancy Center at 767 Oglethorpe. This was a momentous move for us! We were able to move our pharmacy out of a closet, we were able to go from one office to three, separate dental from medical and we were able to increase access to our patients. All wonderful things!!!! We had such great support in this effort including the Upchurch family and Andrew Clyde. What a blessing they were to us! So many of you were behind the scenes giving, praying and cheering us on. Thank you for that! I am so grateful for each of you!
In 2011, we began our first strategic planning session. We had MANY questions and few answers. Some of the big questions were: We are totally out of space so where are we going to go, how much space do we need and how in the world are we going to pay for it???? I remember in strategic planning that we all agreed that we needed 10,000 square feet in order to increase capacity, programs and staff. We began to pray . . . and within just a few short months we were approached by Athens Regional Medical Center about a 10,000 square foot building right across the street from our current location. Grant Tribble, Jim Hopkins, and David Linder went to work on a contract where we could sublease the building from ARMC for five years and then purchase the building at the end of the term. I am so grateful for these three men who put their love (and some more than love) for Mercy Health Center to the test during contract negotiations. I know that it was not easy but you prevailed! Thank you!!! Thank you!!! Thank you!!! You are the best!
This brings us to today. At 2pm, we signed the documents for Mercy Health Center to be our home. WOW! This is so surreal. This is the day that we have prayed for – for almost 16 years.
700 Oglethorpe Avenue will become OUR home – Home to over 3,900 patients, 800 volunteers, 16 staff members and sometimes a little black cat in the parking lot. Most of all, this is a home for God to dwell. A home for him to continue doing a great work in. A medical home for thousands of patients. A home away from home for hundreds of students. IT IS HOPE AND HEALING!
Thank you is so inadequate but necessary. Thank you, Joe Bucha, Paul Chambers, Len Chandler and David Linder for leading us well! Thank you David Linder for the hundreds of hours that you have invested in this on the front and back end making sure we are legal and legit. Thank you, Brooks Arnold for chairing our Capital Campaign and leading your team well. (Remember, everyone, we still have a 45k match that we are accepting donations for! Today would be a great day to make a donation!) Thank you Tim and Leah Chapman for joining us in this adventure and we cannot wait to put your family’s legacy on the front of our building!
When I started 12 years ago and I opened up Quickbooks for the first time in that basement on Park Avenue, there was not enough money in the bank to pay me in two weeks. TODAY WE PAY CASH!!!
That, folks, is the result of a big God and praying people.
Sending you all much love and gratefulness today!!!!!
Mercy Health Center