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Shooting the Breeze with Lois Bryant

STB-Lois-Bryant  Lois Bryant, nurse practioner and member of the Board of Directors at Good Samaritan Health & Wellness Center, serves punch at a reception to thank clinic volunteers.   
    A former Pickens County Health Department Nurse Manager for 11 years, Bryant spends some of her retirement time volunteering at Good Sam. The center is a not-for-profit, volunteer-operated clinic that provides free or discounted health services to residents and workers of Pickens County who have no other access to health care. Bryant said her work at Good Sam is incredibly satisfying, especially when former clients come in and tell you they’ve been able to quit smoking or lose weight. She and her husband Richard live in Cherokee County.

Tell me how you first got involved with Good Samaritan?
    I was the Nurse Manager at the Health Department and was asked to meet with the group from Holy Family to discuss the need for a clinic in the county.
    When I retired from the health department I became a volunteer.

What do you find most challenging about volunteering there?
    Trying to find a resource for a service that we cannot provide in the clinic. Such as surgery.

What do you wish other people knew about Good Sam?
    That there are opporunities for any one to volunteer. You do not have to have a medical background. We can use people with so many different talents and everyone has talents.

What do you think will change about Good Sam over the next five years?
    We have applied to become a Federally Qualified Health Center and this would change the clinic because we would be able to accept people with insurance, Medicaid and Medicare. We would also be able to provide more services to the people without insurance.

Tell me about some of the people you've met while volunteering there.
    There are people from all walks of life who volunteer. Some of the people who volunteer are former or current patients who want to give back to the clinic. We have people from all over the United States who have moved to Pickens County and have many stories to share.

Do you have any favorite stories from your volunteer work?
    The work is so satisfiying. To have someone come in and tell you that they have quit smoking and that they are not coughing anymore. Or the person who is losing weight and can stop taking so much medicine.

What do you do when you aren't volunteering?
    I like to cook desserts and I also do lots of cross stitching

Do you live in Pickens? Married? Retired?
    We live in Cherokee County. I married a person from Pickens County. I have failed at retirement twice - once from Fulton County Health Department and then again from the Pickens County Health Department.

How would you describe a perfect day?
    A day at the lake with family and friends.

Who has been the biggest influence on your life?
    Other than God, my parents. They taught me to share what ever you had with someone. This included sharing your time and talents.