Community Builder: Midlands man helps hundreds get needed medical equipment
COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - A Midlands man is determined to get much needed medical equipment in the hands of those who otherwise could not afford it.
Hubert Smoak’s work is all volunteer, but his efforts are essential to those in need.
“You don't get to meet many people that just see a community need and step into action,” said Barbara Willm, Lexington Medical Center’s Vice President of Development and Community Relations, and the person who nominated Smoak as a Community Builder.
More than 10 years ago after selling medical equipment for a living, Smoak says he realized a greater need when he delivered a wheelchair to a woman in Bamberg.
Hubert Smoak/Founder of MedNeed of SC 19:35:38 “I left the wheelchair with her and she was able to get around her home, but when I was leaving I realized that she was still stuck in her home,” said Smoak. “So, she wasn't getting everything she needed.”
Smoak says that’s why he began the process of founding MedNeed of SC. He immediately learned there wasn't a local nonprofit that existed to help uninsured or underinsured people who needed equipment and supplies, so he began collecting old medical equipment and started applying for grants. One of those grants he was awarded came from the Lexington Medical Center Foundation.
“If you think about somebody who needs a wheelchair, and they can’t get around any other way, and they have no means to have that wheel chair- they have no place to turn to get that- that’s huge,” said Willm. “For someone like Mr. Smoak to provide that kind of medical equipment to help people, that’s life changing for them.”
The first year Lexington Medical Center Foundation gave Smoak a grant, he was able to help 60 people. They’ve since quadrupled his grant funding, and this year he’s on track to help somewhere between 800 and 900 people.
“Obviously, I'm grateful for everything I'm able to do out there, but it doesn't touch the surface of what's out there as far as needs a go,” said Smoak. “I would love to be able to take this effort completely statewide.”
While he says he'll need more financial support to do that, every little bit helps, which made Matt Mungo's surprise that he's our latest Community Builder even more special.
"You will get a $1,000 check to the charity of your choice,” said Mungo, presenting Mr.Smoak his hardhat. “Thank you for all that you do!”
“Thank you!! Is that a charity of your choice other than mine?” joked Smoak, who expressed how grateful he was for the unexpected donation from the Mungo Foundation.
"This check from Mungo couldn't have come at a better time,” added Smoak. “A lot of these people [that I serve] are going to get Christmas presents that they weren't expecting and that's a big plus to me too.”
Mr. Smoak is currently looking for more donated warehouse space. If you can help or would like to financially support his mission visit http://www.medneedofsc.com/.
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