For those who worked closely with Stan Brock, the upcoming Remote Area Medical expedition in Knoxville will be special, by the numbers.

RAM’s 1,000th free mobile medical clinic is set for Feb. 1-3 at the Jacob Building in Chilhowee Park in Knoxville.

That RAM’s first expedition of 2019 is happening in Knoxville is no coincidence. It’s tradition to hold the first clinic of the year in Knoxville. The fact that the clinic will be No. 1,000 for RAM is happenstance, even though it might seem prophetic.

Robert Lambert, media relations and development specialist for RAM, said the organization realized last summer that the clinic’s return visit to Knoxville would be a milestone as organizers were arranging the upcoming schedule.

“It just happened to fall that way that the first expedition of this year would be number 1,000. The first time always is Knoxville. I don’t know if you remember, but 900th was in Knoxville, which was coincidental. So 100 expeditions later just happened to fall that way,” Lambert said.

Brock, who founded RAM, died Aug. 29, at RAM headquarters on Stock Creek Road in Rockford. He lived just long enough to realize the significance of what was about to happen on Feb. 1, at Chilhowee Park.

“Stan knew that before he passed, and was really excited, was proud to have this milestone here in this community that has raised us, if you will. We were founded in Knoxville, and have been in the Knoxville/Rockford area the whole time,” Lambert said.

RAM held expeditions in Blount County in 2013 and 2017 at Heritage High School.

Brock was known as a people person, but he understood the power of numbers — especially the number of people who have received free medical care from RAM since 1985. That number stands at more than 780,000 and is expected to grow by about 1,000 during the three-day clinic in Knoxville.

A recording by Brock that RAM uses on its website explains how all those numbers were totaled one ticket at a time.

“Families are so desperate for this care that they begin to line up 48 hours before a RAM clinic begins, often sleeping in their cars to make sure they get one of those precious numbers which will ensure them entrance,” Brock said.

Free clinic is

open to all

For all those needing one ticket, here’s what the clinic entails:

Services available at the RAM clinic include dental cleanings, dental fillings, dental extractions, dental X-rays, eye exams, eyeglass prescriptions, eyeglasses made on-site, women’s health exams and general medical exams.

Patients of the Knoxville RAM clinic will be able to register their unaltered household pets for free spay/neuter surgery, as well as vaccinations, city dog tags, and microchipping. Pets should not be taken to the RAM clinic. All RAM services are free and no ID is required. Everyone is invited regardless of where they live.

Chilhowee Park is at 3301 E. Magnolia Ave., Knoxville. Typically, RAM opens the patient parking lot (Gate No. 1) no later than midnight on the first night of the event (Friday, Feb. 1). Ticket distribution usually begins at 3 a.m., and patients then are served in chronological order according to their ticket number when clinic doors open, which typically occurs at 6 a.m.

This process will repeat on Saturday, Feb. 2, and Sunday, Feb. 3. In some situations, such as inclement weather, volunteer cancellations or other circumstances outside of RAM’s control, ticketing may occur earlier than 3 a.m. RAM encourages everyone who would like services, especially dental services, to arrive as early as possible.

Remote Area Medical relies on donations and volunteers to provide those services. Brock’s voice makes the case every day on RAM’s website:

“For many a RAM clinic can make the difference between life and death, between securing a job and struggling to make ends meet.

For some it means providing for their family and improving their quality of life.

And for every person who receives care at a RAM clinic, it means stopping the needless pain and suffering they have to deal with every day.”

For information, visit www.ramusa.org or call 865-579-1530.

Bob has served in a variety of roles since joining The Daily Times in the 90s. He currently is editor of the business section. When someone gets promoted, retires or gets hired at a new job in Blount County, he's the man to email.

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