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Reluctant winner is Health Right volunteer of year

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The winner of this year's Volunteer of the Year award from West Virginia Health Right didn't want the award at first.

Dr. David Santrock said there are many other volunteers who deserve the award.

"I refused at first," Santrock said. "I felt there were people more worthy of the honor. I didn't do it for [the award]."

Santrock, a retired orthopedic surgeon who has been a Health Right volunteer since 2006, will be honored at the health clinic's annual dinner and fundraiser this weekend.

He said he volunteers to make a difference for the people who come to clinic, many of whom are not eligible for Medicaid but cannot afford health insurance, he said.

"I think most people [who volunteer] will tell you, you get far more out of it than you give," Santrock said.

Health Right has nearly 400 volunteers, around 130 of whom are physicians, Executive Director Pat White said. Other volunteers are dentists and other health-care providers, she said.

The clinic has been honoring a volunteer of the year since 1999, White said.

Santrock, a native of Dunbar, attended West Virginia University on a football scholarship and graduated from the WVU School of medicine. He practiced as an orthopedic surgeon in Charleston from 1976 through 2007, primarily at Saint Francis Hospital but also at Charleston Area Medical Center and Thomas Memorial Hospital, he said.

He and his wife have three sons and six grandchildren.

Santrock works one day a month at the Health Right clinic, where he screens patients and refers those who need further care or surgery to surgeons who are currently practicing, he said.

He's also on call for the clinic once or twice a month, he said.

White said Santrock is well liked by patients, whom he provides good care to. Santrock epitomizes the meaning volunteer, she said. 

"He'll stay as long as we need him," White said. "If we get behind because we have more patients, he'll come in another day."

 West Virginia Health Right's annual dinner and auction fundraiser will be 6 p.m. on Saturday at Berry Hills Country Club. For more information, visit www.wvhealthright.org.

Reach Lori Kersey at lori.kersey@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1240.


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