On a rainy, misty Wednesday morning, Oct. 12, a new mobile medical dental unit pulled into the parking lot of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC). The excitement among those anticipating its arrival overshadowed the gloomy weather. Stepping out of the driver’s seat was Karyn Guse of Lifeline Mobile of Columbus, Ohio. Karyn was warmly greeted by Joanne Honeycutt, coordinator of the mobile medical/dental ministry; Richard Brunson, executive director of North Carolina Baptist Men (NCBM); and mobile medical/dental unit drivers.
It was 22 years ago that the first medical/dental bus pulled into the parking lot at 205 Convention Drive. During this 22 years of service, thousands of needy North Carolinians have received free medical and dental care. Most importantly, these individuals received spiritual care as well. The decision to purchase a new mobile unit began in 2010 when the 1989 Bluebird Bus began having mechanical, electrical and dental equipment problems. Honeycutt and the dental bus drivers began researching and visiting other mobile units and organizations that build them.
Lifeline Mobile, a family owned business, was chosen to manufacture NCBM’s new mobile unit after consideration of several companies that customize buses, trucks and RV’s into bloodmobiles, emergency vehicles, mobile medical/dental units and bookmobiles. Brunson and Honeycutt visited the manufacturing facility in Ohio in May 2010.
The new unit will replace the 1989 Bluebird bus. The Lifeline unit will be housed at the BSC along with the 2001 Bluebird Bus. The 1989 unit is going to be moved to Truett Baptist Association near Murphy. It will be set up as a stationary clinic, and used by the association to serve several of the most western N.C. counties. The cost of the Lifeline Mobile unit was $400,000.
Another $50,000 will be spent on medical/dental equipment and supplies to furnish the unit. The purchase of this unit was made possible by donations from individuals and dentists and grants.
The new Lifeline Mobile unit will be on display at the Annual Session of the Baptist State Convention at the Koury Center in Greensboro on November 7 and 8.
The medical/dental ministry is supported by the North Carolina Missions Offering.