Ewing, VA

Ewing is an unincorporated community in Lee County. It is one of the most westernmost settlements in Virginia before reaching the Cumberland Gap and the borders of Kentucky and Tennessee. Its population was approximately 400 people in 1975, but another 5000 to 6000 people lived within the wider area of lower Lee County. At the time, there was only one physician serving this region. The nearest hospitals were located in Pennington Gap (30 miles from Ewing) and Middlesboro (15 miles away).

The Student Health Coalition held a summer health fair in Ewing in 1974. The Western Virginia Health Council emerged as a result. The SHC maintained contact with this group during the following fall and winter. Then in the spring of 1975, the Health Council invited the SHC to return to Ewing to hold another health fair there – once again, at the Thomas Walker High School.

After the health fair left town, the health council created three working committees. They were assisted and supported by the two SHC community workers who had been assigned to western Virginia for the summer: Dale McBrier and Mary McCormick. The Fundraising Committee was tasked with raising the funds that would be needed to operate a clinic. The Building Committee was responsible for looking for land, materials, and free labor that might be utilized in building a clinic. The Medical Research Committee was responsible for looking into the staffing and medical equipment that the clinic would need. It was also tasked with legal matters like incorporation.

By the end of the summer, the health council had acquired a piece of land and incorporated. They also applied to the National Health Service Corps, looking for a physician who might staff their planned clinic.


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