Good News Clinics
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By mail: Good News Clinics, P.O. Box 2683, Gainesville, GA 30503
In 1997, Dr. Ed Burnette founded the Green Warren Dental Clinic, which provides free dental care for Hall County families without health insurance.
Thursday, the clinic dedicated its dental examination rooms in Burnette’s name.
The Green Warren Dental Clinic is part of Good News Clinics, which include the Sam Poole Medical Clinic. Cheryl Christian, Good News Clinics executive director, said Burnette was a “selfless” leader and founder for the clinics.
“One of the reasons we’ve gathered today is our board of directors at Good News Clinics has elected to name our dental exam rooms in honor of Ed and what he’s done for our clinic,” Christian said. “... They are now named in honor of Dr. Burnette, the many lives he’s touched and his hard work.”
Christian said Burnette served as the volunteer dental director for the clinic for 18 years, during which time he also treated patients.
“I want to express my appreciation to the Good News Clinics for this honor,” Burnette said to the large crowd gathered at the clinic Thursday. “This is such a reception, I just can’t believe it.”
Burnette also was recognized by Hall County Board of Commissioners Chairman Richard Mecum, who read a proclamation acknowledging Burnette’s work in the county.
Mecum also shared a story of Burnette’s help on a murder case in the 1980s. Mecum said Burnette expressed his interest in forensic dentistry. Mecum, who was sheriff at the time, gave him the case of a young woman whose body was missing. They hoped Burnette could track down her dental records and identify her body when it was found.
“He was able to testify in court and confirm for a fact it was who it was we were looking for,” Mecum said. “That man arrested is still in jail today.”
Gov. Nathan Deal also sent a commendation recognizing Burnette for his work.
“Dr. Burnette demonstrates his enduring faith daily through both word and deed. His kindness, devotion to others and integrity are reflective of the very best qualities Georgians possess,” said Rep. Carl Rogers, R-Gainesville, reading the commendation from Deal. “He will be sorely missed by his colleagues at the Good News Clinics. The legacy he has built over the past two decades will continue to impact and inspire those associated with this organization.”
Burnette said he and his wife, Elaine, moved to Gainesville in 1961 and he retired from his private practice in 1995. He called it “a joy to raise my family in a town that was so caring,” and said he wanted to give back after retirement.
He thanked the 40 dentists who volunteer their time to serve at the clinic, and he credited Dr. Sam Poole, for whom the medical clinic is named, for giving him the idea for the free clinic.
He also recognized Anne Warren Thomas, daughter of Green Warren, whose donation funded much of the first medical equipment for the clinic.
“I had a lot of support from the dental community and the medical community,” he said. “I appreciate very much their support.”
Today, the clinic is the number one of its kind in the state and in the top 10 percent in the nation, according to Burnette. Last year, the clinic served 7,478 patients and dentists volunteered approximately 1,395 hours, for an estimated service value of $1.3 million.
“Good News Clinics is an example of what people can accomplish working together,” Burnette said. “Because it is a success.”