Every Monday, an 82-year-old UF alumnus and retired epidemiologist sets up a wound care clinic to serve the homeless who live in Grace Marketplace or the neighboring Dignity Village, a sprawling city of tents in east Gainesville.
Dr. Fred West, an elder at Gainesville Seventh-day Adventist Church, mends the cuts, infected bug bites and black eyes that come through his makeshift clinic. Sometimes, though, those who live in Dignity Village require more medical attention than West’s stack of donated medical supplies or his four-person volunteer staff can provide.
West said in the nearly three years he’s been volunteering at Grace Marketplace, he’s seen many undiagnosed cases of diabetes, heart disease and hypertension.
In many instances, West has personally driven residents of Dignity Village to other hospitals or clinics and sits in the waiting room until they’ve received proper care.
“I think it’s important that we understand and see that there are people out there that need help, and aren’t — for any number of reasons — able to help themselves,” he said.
Dr. Fred West and Cindy Rosebush look for medical supplies in the clinic.