Arthur and Carolyn Adams, long term Ocala residents and retirees, had a vision for a community health and resource center in one of the underserved areas of Ocala. It all started when Carolyn inherited her grandmother’s small, Florida pine home in the Tucker Hill area. With a little remodeling, Art and Carolyn hoped to provide a variety of services and resources to the local area. It sounds easy and simple.
But, nothing is ever simple! This vision took them on a more than four year journey towards a project that became a more comprehensive health center, not in her grandmother’s original small wood-frame home, but in a Summer Glen Realty Golfing Community to Interfaith Emergency Services. When their project stalled, Karla Grimsley Executive Director, offered the modular to Art and Carolyn.
But, even that was not simple. The donated modular had to be disassembled and moved; cable poles had to be raised. The local cable company stepped in to help with that, but costs were running high. Then an “angel” heard about the move from the local paper, Mr. Norton McNeal, and offered financial support for the move. Mr. McNeal is a local gentleman whose own father had a close business and personal relationship with a man who lived in the Tucker Hill neighborhood. He believed in the Adams’ vision and hoped his contribution of the needed funds could not only help the neighborhood, but also repay the kindness this local man had given his family.
And still, of course, there were hours in front of boards and commissions, planning and zoning, ordinances and exceptions and all the details. Lawyers, doctors, architects, hospital officials, church and civic leaders, all local people, all helped to move the project forward, inch by important inch. Everything had to be done carefully, properly, and safely. Step by step, Art and Carolyn moved forward, committed to their vision, persevering in their dream to make services available to the underserved west side community.
Then, tragedy struck, the man with the vision, the selfless man who wanted to help those who had no one to help them, the man who spent his time to meet and talk with everyone, the man who showed up to all the meetings, went to the churches and local community events, did everything in his power to make people see what was needed to make this vision a reality, that man, Arthur Adams, after suffering many physical setbacks, passed away in December of 2013.
What would happen now? Who would carry on? Who better than Carolyn Adams, devoted wife of Arthur, retired Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner and recent recipient of the local NAACP Community Service and Uplift Award? Yes, Carolyn Adams will work with the City of Ocala, and the many other people inspired by their fortitude and commitment as well as the Board of Directors for the Estella Byrd Whitman Wellness and Community Center.