RAM pair to keynote Kiwanis event

By LARRY C. BOWERS
Posted 9/7/18

Did you ever want to be a cowboy? Most boys growing up in the midst of the 20th century were inspired by the Wild, Wild  West, due to the influence of a new medium of the time — TV.You can …

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RAM pair to keynote Kiwanis event

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Did you ever want to be a cowboy? Most boys growing up in the midst of the 20th century were inspired by the Wild, Wild  West, due to the influence of a new medium of the time — TV.

You can learn a little about one of those mid-century cowboys at next Thursday's Cleveland Kiwanis Club noon luncheon at the downtown Elks Lodge.

The Kiwanis Club did not meet this week, opting for the club's golf tournament fundraiser at the Chatata Valley Golf Course on Thursday. Eighty golfers participated in this biggest club event of the year.

Next week's program will feature two of the top officials of the health assistance organization, Remote Area Medical, from Rockford in Blount County. 

CEO Jeff Eastman and Disaster Manager Ron Brewer are scheduled to be guests at the Kiwanis luncheon.

They will talk about the accomplishments of RAM, the next  community clinic scheduled here on for June 1-2, 2019, and also the recent death of RAM founder and president Stan Brock.

Brock had visited the Bradley County RAM clinics several times in the past.

This noted philanthropist, plagued by a lingering illness, died Aug. 29, at the RAM headquarters in Rockford.

Brock was a former host of "Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom" TV series in 1985 and 1986, after previous host Marlin Perkins stepped down in 1985 due to health reasons. 

If you were one of the show's 32 million weekly viewers, you might remember Brock was  an outdoorsman, who had been a South American cowboy (Vaquero), manager of one of the world's largest ranches, and bush pilot. Originally from Europe, he was an engaging narrator, who would approach wild animals in their natural habitat.

He later became an international philanthropist, and founded RAM in 1985. He became a different type of cowboy, battling for the need of health benefits for the downtrodden. Thousand upon thousands have received relief from his crusade over the years.

RAM provides dental, vision, medical examinations and even veterinary care for companion animals. It began as a service agency worldwide, but more recently has focused on poor communities in the United States.

RAM is headquartered in Rockford, a small community in Blount County between Maryville and Knoxville.

Over the years, RAM has provided relief and treatment to almost a million people, and several major clinics have been held in Cleveland and Bradley County. The next one will be in June 2019.

They also assist with mini RAM clinics, sponsored every other year by St. Lisieux Catholic Church's Health Ministry. Sherry Parks of the ministry is one of RAM's contacts locally.

Brewer was one of  Brock's top lieutenants at RAM. In a recent conversation, he commented briefly on the future of RAM.

"We will be carrying on," Brewer said, insinuating that contingency plans were already in place with Brock's health concerns.The scope of RAM's future, and the 2019 clinic in Bradley County, are expected to be discussed by Eastman next Thursday.

Bubba and Kay Smith, Kiwanis club members, are longtime RAM volunteers. They have been assisting September's program chairmen, Charlie Cogdill and Renny Whittenbarger, in planning for this week's special program with the RAM visitors.

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