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Bridge club donates to Hagerstown clinic

December 04, 2004|by Alicia Notarianni

alician@herald-mail.com

What trumps a good game of bridge?

Not much, say members of the Rosemarie Linenberger Grand Slam Charity Bridge Club - except for raising money for charity while playing, that is.

Nancy Chase of Hagerstown, co-coordinator of the club along with Jan Goldman of Hagerstown, said a flexible roster of about 15 core members plus occasional attendees gather every Friday at the American Legion in Hagerstown for lunch and an afternoon of bridge. The ladies donate $2 per game to a general pot, which is donated at year's end to a local charity.

Chase said the club was established in 1999 by Rosemarie Linenberger, a Hagerstown resident who died in January following an extended illness.

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"We're just carrying on the vision of a deceased friend," Chase said. "She kept this club going and it kept her going."

"(Linenberger) loved her bridge," said Mary Secor of Hagerstown, a member of the club.

Around 30 players gathered Friday at the Fountain Head Country Club to present a donation to the Community Free Clinic and, of course, to play bridge.

Referring to Linenberger, Chase said, "I know she's flipping on a cloud right now because this year, we are able to give $1,000. She always wanted to hit that level."

Club members decide which local organization will receive funds each year. Chase said members chose the Community Free Clinic for the second year in a row in honor of Linenberger, who reportedly valued the work of the clinic.

Robin Roberson, executive director of the Community Free Clinic, said the nonprofit organization provides free medical care, prescription medication and laboratory services to people in Washington County who are uninsured or underinsured. Roberson said the donation would go directly toward patient care.

"You may think $2 a week is not a lot of money, but we can provide medical care for one patient for an entire year, including prescription medications and laboratory services, for $165.97," Roberson said.

Based on that figure, Roberson estimated that the bridge club's contribution would cover complete medical care for more than six people in the coming year.

Roberson said while the clinic serves individuals who are poor and homeless, the majority of patients at the clinic work full time, but can't afford to buy medical insurance or are not offered it through their jobs. She estimated that the clinic will have had more than 11,000 patient visits by the end of the year.

Virginia Small, 71, of Hagerstown, a member of the bridge group, said she believes contributing to the Community Free Clinic is a worthwhile project.

Betty Morgan, 71, of Hagerstown, an original member of the bridge club, said, "One thing about bridge - as you get older, you need to keep your mind active. You need to think to play this game."

"We are lucky in that we know each other and we get to indulge ourselves while we do good works," Chase said.

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