In 1952, times were tough in our rural Appalachian communities due to the closing of many of the local coal mines in this area. Medical services were meager at best. The story of our health center began in this setting - with the birth of the Clear Fork Community Clinic. The United Mine Workers Association and the American Medical Association worked with local community leaders to address the lack of adequate health care. The first full-time physician began seeing patients in August 1954, charging $2 a visit. The clinic moved to its present location in 1973 and operated out of a trailer loaned to the organization by the TVA, until a permanent building, the current Clear Fork Clinic, was opened on July 28, 1974.
In the summer of 1976, the Clear Fork Clinic was joined with two other community clinics to become Laurel Fork-Clear Fork Health Centers, Inc., one of the first federally-funded community health centers in the state of Tennessee. Dr. Jesse Walker, who had worked with these clinics since 1970, became the center’s first full-time physician and medical director. Indian Mountain Clinic opened in 1985, and Cumberland River Clinic in Williamsburg, KY was added in 1994.
Laurel Fork-Clear Fork Health Centers, Inc., changed its name to Dayspring Family Health Center in February of 1998. The new name points to our present and future in two special ways. First, we want our name to highlight the value we place on healthy families. Second, we want our organization’s name to reflect our effort to combine medical needs with spiritual and social needs when we look for ways to contribute to our patients’ well being. Dayspring refers to the dawning of the day and is taken from the Gospel of Luke 1:78. We associate the dawn with security, joy, forgiveness, hope, peace, and insight -- all traits we hope are characteristic of the service we provide to our friends and neighbors.