Wanda Hadley grew up wanting to become a missionary because of the lessons learned from her father, a small-town pastor.
Although she never technically became a missionary, you could argue that she served the same role here in Bartholomew County. Hadley worked 16 years at Volunteers in Medicine, the free clinic in Columbus that serves people who don’t have private or government insurance coverage.
The registered nurse started at the clinic when it opened in 1996. She’s seen it grow to serve more than 800 patients, through the help of volunteer doctors, dentists and nurses and community volunteers. The growth included the establishment of a Spanish-language health clinic one night a week.
When Hadley, 66, retired this month, she was the last of the clinic’s original staffers.
Her title was clinical director, but that moniker doesn’t adequately describe her contributions. She was responsible for managing the flow of patients, training nurses, working with doctors and recruiting and training volunteers.
“Wanda has brought healing and hope to thousands of patients and volunteers. She is the heart of Volunteers in Medicine,” said Cheri Wildridge, medication assistance program director for the clinic.
Hadley served others while facing her own physical ailments. She’s battling kidney disease and waiting for a kidney transplant.
Hadley’s spirit and dedication to the service of others are examples for everyone to follow.