Hattiesburg Clinic Wins National Award For Community Service

A South Mississippi medical clinic has been recognized for its commitment to helping those who cannot help themselves. The Southern Eye Center in Hattiesburg is one of only ten recipients of this year's National Make a Difference Day Award. The medical staff has been providing free eye surgery to people with no means to pay for it. Ruth Fullerton of Ocean Springs was one of the recipients. She says her eyesight deteriorated so badly that things she loves like making arts and crafts became impossible.

Fullerton said "I couldn't see anything. Nothing. Oh, I could make out somebody walking in a room but as far as reading and writing, nothing."

Fullerton suffered from cataracts, and doctors told her she would need surgery. Already thousands of dollars in debt from medical bills, a $3,000 to $4,000 operation was not an option she could afford. She found a hero in the medical staff at Southern Eye Center in Hattiesburg. The staff performed surgery for free and gave her all the medication she needed at no charge. Best of all Fullerton says they treated her just like any paying customer, and she is grateful for that.

"I've left my eye chart hanging up to remind me how much you take for granted every day until you lose it," said Fullerton.

Fullerton says the staff at Southern Eye Center made a difference in her life and she is glad a national award recognizes the difference they make in South Mississippi. She says the clinic performed eye surgery on seven other patients free of charge on the same day as her operation.

by Danielle Thomas .