Saying goodbye to Dr. Jack



Dr. Jack McConnell, the beloved founder of Volunteers in Medicine Clinic, died Feb. 6 at the age of 93. Dr. Jack, as he was affectionately known, was a nationally recognized scientist and business executive in the health care field prior to hatching the idea for the VIM clinic.

When it was founded 25 years ago, the clinic brought free health care to anyone living or working on Hilton Head or Daufuskie islands. Today, it is the model for nearly 90 clinics around the country, and volunteer doctors and nurses see more than 28,000 patients each year on Hilton Head.

“Dr. Jack was a shining example of how one person can change the world,” said Dr. Raymond Cox, executive director of Volunteers in Medicine. “His work in developing the VIM Clinic made a huge difference in the lives of patients who would otherwise not have access to care.”

The idea for the clinic came from a chance encounter on a stormy day on Hilton Head, when McConnell stopped to offer a ride to a native islander walking in the rain. The man told McConnell that he and his pregnant wife and two children had no health care, sparking McConnell’s resolve to give all islanders access to quality care.

McConnell is survived by his wife, Mary Ellen; two sons, Steven and Page; one daughter, Katie; and seven grandchildren.