Volunteer Story – Appreciated at Every Level

Tarique Adballa

Tarique Adballa, 42 Cedar Rapids, IA CHFC Volunteer

Tarique Adballa first decided he wanted to volunteer at Community Health Free Clinic (CHFC) in 2005. Tarique was a college student at the time and from Sudan, Africa. He was also very sick – and did not have any money.

“At first, I didn’t know about the clinic, but had severe pneumonia. It got so bad that I thought I was going to die. A friend told me about the clinic and I went there, barley breathing. I was greeted with kindness and compassion, and rushed to see a doctor – even ahead of other patients. My condition was dire and I was given an inhaler. Within half an hour, I was able to breathe.

“The staff at CHFC took care of me and sent me home with medication. They also asked me if needed any other help. They saved my life. I went home thinking that the people at the clinic were angels of mercy. I had never experienced anything like that in my life.”

In 2017, Tarique fulfilled his dream. Now, a University of Iowa graduate and a Lab Technician at Mercy Medical Center, he began to volunteer at Community Health Free Clinic. Today, you can find Tarique there most Mondays, helping to sort patients, translating patients’ native language (Arabic) for health care providers – and yes, clean up the bathrooms and take out the trash.

He credits CHFC CEO, Darlene Schmidt, for the opportunity.

According to Darlene, “Tarique is a very dedicated and loyal volunteer, caring for our patients in need. Knowing the Arabic language and translating to English for our MDs and providers is such a needed service. Also, his background of medical knowledge makes him a trusted volunteer.”

Schmidt adds, “Tarique’s desire to volunteer as a medical doctor is a dream come true for our patients in need.

“We are SO lucky to have him!”