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Mission of Mercy to hold M*A*S*H BASH

Dr. Cecil Bourne (left) asks a patient about her health issues inside the Mission of Mercy’s mobile RV clinic. The organization’s annual fundraiser this year, the M*A*S*H BASH, is expected to raise $100,000 for the clinic’s operation. Photo by Carrie Robertson Meyer/Third Coast Photo

=Store away the tux and ballgown. This year’s Mission of Mercy fundraiser calls for camouflage, scrubs and feather boas for selfies in a life-size replica helicopter, a dart game using syringes and a live band covering the theme song from the TV series “M*A*S*H.” Set for April 1 at the Solomon Ortiz Center, the M*A*S*H Bash has a goal of raising $100,000 in donations to help fulfill its mission of providing 72 clinic days a year at each of its five mobile sites.

For the past eight years, Mission of Mercy has provided free medical care and prescription drug help for the uninsured and underinsured in South Texas and the Coastal Bend. Having a ‘no-questions-asked’ and a ‘no-proof-of-residence-or-income-required’ approach enables more people to get the care they need, said

Sherry Bower, executive director of the nonprofit group.

From a clinic housed inside an RV, patients receive free treatment at five mobile medical sites in Corpus Christi, Flour Bluff, Robstown and Orange Grove.

“On average, we provide care for at least 3,000 patient visits a year,” Bower said. ‘We treat anywhere from minor ailments to emergency procedures, all free of charge to the patient. We are staffed by volunteer doctors and nurses and funded only by donations and sponsorships.”

More casual than last year’s Momentum of Mercy awards banquet, the M*A*S*H Bash will feature Chow Hall rations dished out by the Corpus Christi Mustangs, a group of local men who cook up their famous barbecue for nonprofits. Live music will be performed by The Sweet Adelines and Cruise Control, who, according to Bower, have already mastered the theme song to “M*A*S*H.”

Guests are encouraged to dress like their favorite “M*A*S*H” characters, whether Hot Lips, Hawkeye or Klinger.

“I’ll be dressed in character as Radar since I have these really funky-looking glasses,” said Austin Stout, a registered nurse who has been volunteering with the group for two years. “I've been a fan of the TV show since childhood, and I'm looking forward to having some fun for a good cause.”

Guests will enjoy special games, prizes, a cash bar, table decorations that include IVs with fake blood, and a life-size model of the iconic “M*A*S*H” helicopter complete with stretchers. Each guest will receive a free T-shirt and souvenir dog tags.

The event will also honor Bill Dennis, Richard Porter and Ken Tompkins, three doctors who have donated their time and services to Mission of Mercy since it began in 2008.

“These fundraisers are so important to us to help us with the operating costs of providing free medical care to the public,” said Angie Martinez, a volunteer administrative assistant for Mission of Mercy. “If we did not see these patients, many would not be alive today.”

Corpus Christi resident Mary Alice Perez can attest to that. Mission of Mercy saved her husband’s life, she said.

“When my husband lost his job three years ago, he had no insurance and we could not afford medical care,” Perez said. “He had a major bladder infection that would have killed him had the staff of Mission of Mercy not intervened. Their followup care added three more years to his life. I don't know what we would have done if they had not come to South Texas.”

That level of commitment can come only with community support. Bower listed several ways people can support the cause.

“Tickets to the M*A*S*H BASH are $125 each and are going fast,” Bower said. “Table sponsorships start at $2,000. Others can help by donating an auction item, and, for a $1,000 personal gift, guests can become a Clinic Day Sponsor, which includes benefits.”

Bower recently revealed the organization’s plans to build its own medical clinic facility in Corpus Christi on Ayers and Baldwin, directly across from the Richardson Performance Hall at Del Mar College.

“We project that the groundbreaking will take place around May of the following year,” Bower said.

The two-story, $2.7 million building will consist of eight exam and seven triage rooms on the first floor and administrative offices and conference rooms on the second floor. Partnership opportunities for naming each of the rooms will be available, Bower said.

“We will share more about this amazing community project during the M*A*S*H BASH,” she said.

Mission of Mercy offices are located at 719 S. Shoreline Blvd., Suite 103, Corpus Christi, TX 78401. For more information about the M*A*S*H BASH and Mission of Mercy, contact (361) 883-5500 or visit missionofmercy.org/texas.

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