Ozarks AIDS Resources and Services (OARS) is a 501(c)(3) community-based organization which serves individuals in Carroll County, Arkansas, and neighboring counties by providing free medical services for those living with HIV/AIDS and providing free education programs throughout our area. We work with various patient assistance programs, and select State and Federal programs, to obtain as many of the medications as possible. Those medications that are not available through these programs are purchased by OARS through our local pharmacies which provide them at a greatly reduced fee. We do not charge our clients for their medical services. As far as we know, we are the only free clinic of this kind in this region.
Our Clinic Director and Executive Director receive no salary for their volunteer efforts. These individuals have held their respective positions since OARS was started in 1992. All monies donated to OARS go directly to support our programs and the people we serve, and none are funneled to any national organization.
۰ Services Provided
There is no charge for any of the services we provide, including an HIV/AIDS clinic; confidential HIV/AIDS testing; medical tests, medications, and supplies for our clinic patients; free speakers for any organization, business, or group wishing to know more about HIV/AIDS; and a limited amount of direct emergency financial assistance to individuals with HIV/AIDS.
۰ History of OARS
OARS began in the Fall of 1992, when a group of individuals came together to help their family, friends, and neighbors who were living with HIV/AIDS. There were representatives from various geographic regions in and around Carroll County including community leaders, business owners, educators, health care professionals, and individuals who had been diagnosed as having AIDS. Everyone agreed that we needed one organization established "for the purposes of providing educational services regarding HIV/AIDS and assistance to those individuals who have been diagnosed as being HIV positive and/or having AIDS."
A Constitution and By-Laws were written, the details were worked out, and the law offices of Epley, Epley, and France donated their time and legal expertise to establish this non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. The first Board of Directors included Dr. Alice Martinson as President, Lamont Richie as Vice President, Linda Parcher served as Treasurer, and Steven Colvin was Secretary. Other Board members were Mary Ellen Atchley, Sam Barnes, Mark Lenneville, Virginia Voiers, and Margaret Wallace. Carole Sturgis served in the position that became known as Executive Director, and she continues to serve in that capacity. One of our goals was to have a free clinic open by June 1, 1993, and we met that goal. Ms. Pat Jones, RN, was the Clinic Coordinator. Dr. Charles Horton has been our Clinic Director from the very beginning.
Since that time, we have been successful in receiving grants and awards from government agencies, businesses, and foundations. Our clinic continues to provide services, OARS continues to do education and training, and our volunteers continue to help whenever and wherever they are asked.
۰ OARS Volunteers
The OARS Volunteers are a dedicated group of individuals who assist us with special programs and projects, and our fundraising activities. Becky Halper is the Volunteer Coordinator for OARS. We have had over 400 people serve as volunteers since 1993.