Retro-themed fundraiser Aug. 11 for Free Medical Clinic

Two Clinton residents are time-traveling to the past this month.

They’re in search of perfect outfits. Regina Copeland has been scouring the internet for a good 1940s outfit. She wants to look just right for her first-ever Bash to help support the Free Medical Clinic of Oak Ridge.

At the same time, Heather Emert, mortgage division manager at TNBank in Oak Ridge, is searching for a dress to dance in.

She’s been to the Bash in years past, but this year is asking for friends to pledge money on her dance number with her partner, co-worker Chris Trouy.

“Money raised by the dancers helps us through the year,” says Bash organizer and FMC board member Carol Smallridge.

In honor of Oak Ridge’s 75th anniversary, this year’s event is called “1940’s Swinging Bash.”

The public is invited to St. Mary’s Catholic School, Aug. 11, 5:30-10 p.m. Tickets are $75 per person and can be purchased by going to the FMC website: or calling 483-3904;

The 40s-themed evening promises to live up to its name with a “Dancing with the Stars” type contest, free swing dance instruction, dinner and the chance to bid on great auction items. Auctioneer Bear Stephens will call items that include a five-night stay in Costa Rica, an authentic Indian dinner with belly dancers and henna tattooing, a signed drum head and drum sticks from Lynyrd Skynyrd along with two tickets for his Oct. 26 concert in Nashville, a week’s stay that sleeps six in Crescent Beach, Florida, two custom made leather recliners, a specially designed outdoor metal bench made by Tennessee College of Applied Technology students in Harriman—and more!

“This is my first time actually dancing,” Emert said. “I will probably make a fool of myself, but that’s okay too.”

“If you’ve never been to the Free Medical Clinic fundraising bash, you’re missing out. It really should be a bucket list item. It’s a time to have a great meal and an even greater time. You’ll see so many of your friends and neighbors there and laugh the night away. The entertainment is provided by several couples ‘breaking a leg’ to whatever song and theme they choose. While most of the dancers are rookies, they are giving it their best shot and deserve your support. It’s not how well you dance that enables you to be crowned king and queen, but rather by how much money you can raise! It’s a night of good, clean fun. There are amazing items for sale at auction, as well, which means you can take home a gift for yourself or someone you know.

Copeland and other ladies who are helping organize the event want to look the part. They could wear a Rosie the Riveter T-shirt, but are hoping to find a great dress.

“I’m looking forward to the Bash,” Copeland said. “I think it’s going to be a lot of fun. It’s been rewarding serving on the committee helping to put this together and I’m looking forward to a great turnout.”

“We think the free medical clinic is an awesome service to Anderson County and we’re encouraging everyone in Clinton to come out for such a great event that includes entertainment, good food and great live auction items,” she added. “We’re so impressed that this helps so many. During a time when many don’t have medical insurance, this is a way to help our neighbors.

Attendees have the satisfaction of knowing they’re helping neighbors in Anderson, Roane and Morgan counties walk through the door at the clinic at 116 East Division Road.

“Our clients are too poor to afford private insurance, not sick enough to qualify for TnCare, and not old enough to qualify for Medicare,” said Jackie Clay DuBose, FMC Executive Director. “They now fall in the gap of lacking access to healthcare. A single person can make up to $24,120 and still be our patient,” said DuBose. “Mom and dad might work part-time and not have benefits. Some people come to us between jobs. Some people are waiting to see if they get approved for disability benefits. No matter the circumstances, we want to create an environment where we help people have a better quality of life. We believe everyone should have access to quality healthcare, regardless of their ability to pay. To help keep our services free of charge, we raise money annually at our Bash fundraiser.”

“With 55 volunteers and five paid staff, we’re able to do this,” Smallridge said about the clinic.

“We had close to 5,000 visits last year and served 1,400 individuals who often had multiple visits.” Our 2018 Visionary Bash sponsors: Methodist Medical Center, Eagle Bend Manufacturing Inc. and the Y-12 Giving Foundation, together with our other company sponsors, will certainly have a tremendous effect on how many we’ll be able to treat this year.

FMC is a 501c3 nonprofit organization serving Anderson, Roane, and Morgan counties. Since 2010, FMC has provided primary healthcare to people who do not have health insurance and are unable to afford medical services. In 2017, FMC had 4,972 visits by 1,295 patients.

“We want to invite everyone from the Clinton area to come; you’re guaranteed to have a great time,” Smallridge said. “Come meet your Oak Ridge neighbors. It’s a very causal, friendly evening where you can laugh at those who think they can dance and applaud those who really can.”