By GINA KINSLOW
Glasgow Daily Times
Dr. Bharat Mody learned at an early age the importance of volunteer work.
It was his parents, specifically his mother, who instilled in him the desire to give his time and energy to help others.
“Even though my mother never went to school, she still made sure that people who came to the front door got fed,” he said. “I think she and my dad were always involved in helping other people. He had a high school degree. There were lots of people in the village who could not read, could not write, but he made sure that everybody got some sort of help.”
Mody, a Glasgow surgeon, along with his wife, Dr. Bharati Mody, an obstetrician and gynecologist, moved to the United States in 1971.
Both attended college and medical school in India, but opted not to stay there.
“India is always less fortunate in one way, unless you go to the real rural part. But then the rural part, 30 some years ago, was hardly anything,” he said. “In my village, there was no running water, no electricity, so that was one reason we wanted to move.”
Mody always knew he wanted to be a doctor.
“Maybe that is because I saw lots of people needing medical help in India,” he said. “My elder sister, who is a doctor back in India, and her husband, who is also a doctor, I think they sort of convinced me to become a surgeon.”
He did a surgical residency and his wife did an obstetrics and gynecology residency, both at St. Thomas Hospital in Nashville. Mody went on to do a surgical fellowship in Louisville.
It was while they were at St. Thomas that they met Dr. John Marsh, of Glasgow, and became inspired to move to southcentral Kentucky to start medical practices and raise their family.
The doctors moved to Glasgow in the summer of 1979.
Glenn Joiner was administrator of T.J. Samson Community Hospital at that time. He described Mody as “a very easy going, hardworking kind of fellow, who is interested in his patients.”
He said the volunteer work that Mody does is a great thing and that he takes it upon himself to do a lot of it on his own.
“He’s helping a whole lot of people, a lot of people who really need it and couldn’t get that type of help anywhere else,” Joiner said.
During the early years of his career, Mody did not volunteer as much as he does now.
“Because of my practice, I was so busy in the beginning, doing surgeries, emergencies and trauma. Then I started slowing down and started seeing the need, especially for healthcare reform,” he said. “That’s when we started thinking about the Community Medical Care Program.”
CMC was launched in 2002 for Barren Countians who were working, but could not afford health care.
Mody spoke to local physicians, dentists, optometrists and others in the local medical community about donating their time to treat patients who qualified for health care through CMC.
Mody recently purchased the former Glasgow Parks and Recreation building at the corner of South Race and West Washington streets so that it may house CMC’s administrative offices.
Freddie Travis, a CMC board member, said Mody is an unselfish person.
“He’s always thinking of ways [other people] can be helped, or ways we can raise money that can help them,” he said. “I’ve enjoyed working with him very, very much. He’s a big asset to the community.”
Mody is also involved with the Glasgow-Barren County Habitat for Humanity program. He became interested in volunteering for Habitat for Humanity in the late 1990s after reading about the national program.
Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit agency that builds affordable homes for those in need. The homes are built by volunteers. Glasgow is currently constructing its 10th Habitat for Humanity home. Volunteers work on the Myrtle Street house, weather permitting, every Saturday.
Mody admits he didn’t know much about home construction in the beginning.
“Also, in the beginning, I was careful because I didn’t want to injure any of my hands or fingers, because that is what I do as a surgeon,” he said. “I have to use my hands, so I didn’t use any power saws or any power instruments. I used mainly hammer and nails in the beginning. But now I have more experience and I can work with power instruments and do so many things and learn so many things at the same time.”
Many times when volunteers are working on Habitat for Humanity homes, offers of used appliances, used building materials and other used items are made.
“The homes we build are new. We cannot use used materials,” he said.
When towns neighboring Glasgow with Habitat for Humanity chapters opened ReStore shops, Mody and other volunteers visited those towns and decided to open a ReStore in Glasgow.
The local ReStore can be found on West Main Street and serves as a fundraiser for the local Habitat for Humanity program. Items donated to Habitat for Humanity are sold at ReStore. Proceeds are used to help build Habitat for Humanity homes.
Billy Elmore, president of the Glasgow-Barren County Habitat for Humanity Board of Directors, said Mody is a great person.
“He’s one that I think if he believes in something, he goes all out for it. He not only puts his resources in to it, he puts himself into it.”
Elmore said Mody is always willing to do whatever is needed.
Mody recently became involved in helping Community Relief and Salvation Army food pantries by spearheading a communitywide food drive, called To the Brim.
“When you think about food, sometimes we don’t pay attention to how many people go hungry. I think that’s how it really came to my mind,” he said. “I talked to lots of people and many of them told me we were running low in our food pantry, but we did not have a cohesive force to have a food drive.”
The first To the Brim food drive was held in August 2009. A second one this past summer, and to make sure there was enough food in the pantry to help families in need through the winter and the holidays a one-day food drive was held in December.
Local grocery stores — Houchens Markets, Food Lion and Walmart — also got on board by helping with the food drive, as well as many area churches, civic groups and other organizations, he said.
“It should not be just a two-time food drive. It has to be on a continuous basis with something coming in, otherwise by the time our summer food drive comes along we will probably be empty again,” Mody said.
Rondal Buford, chairman of the Salvation Army’s board of directors, said Mody is a “real go-getter.”
“When he starts something, he completes it. He follows up on it real well to see that everything is getting done,” Buford said. “He’s very energetic in what he does. He’s very concerned about it and very serious about it and recognizes the needs of the community and works diligently at it. He’s just a fine person.”
He is also involved with MedShare, an international nonprofit organization that strives to improve healthcare through the recovery and redistribution of surplus medical supplies and equipment, according to the charity’s website.
“When you have too much, you also have a tendency to waste and I felt that was happening,” Mody said.
He began collecting gloves, catheters and other medical supplies and donating them to MedShare, which sent them to countries in need of them.
“About five years ago I asked our hospital to get involved,” he said.
T.J. Samson Community Hospital has donated medical supplies and equipment to other countries through MedShare. In January, he initiated a medical supply and equipment drive for MedShare to help Haitian earthquake victims.
Mody, along with his wife, have encouraged their daughters to also volunteer to help others.
Their daughter, Bhavana, is a teacher for a non-profit organization in California. She teaches third- and fourth-graders, as well as their teachers, to take care of their environment.
Their other daughter, Bhavini, is a pediatric nurse practitioner in Lexington.
It was through Bhavini’s urging that Mody came to volunteer his time to do free surgeries on Sundays in Lexington through a program called Surgery on Sunday.
“In the summer I go every third Sunday to Lexington and do free surgery for people who do not have insurance and do not have money,” he said. “That is a program started by Dr. Andy Moore in Lexington and it is called Surgery on Sunday.”
Bhavini asked her father to help out three years ago.
“She said they needed some surgeons to help them out, so that’s when I joined,” Mody said. “She comes with me to help me out.”
By being involved in so many organizations, Mody is able to help a lot of people.
“It looks like I’m helping everybody else, but it helps my inner spirit more than anything else. That’s what keeps me going,” he said.
Mody is grateful to everyone who has offered to lend a hand to help the organizations for which he volunteers.
“I want to thank each and every supporter and each and every volunteer, because without them I could or we could not do what we do,” he said. “I’m also grateful to each and everyone for their faith and their confidence, because every time I have asked for help everybody has stepped up to help us out.”
While many people have the desire and the heart to help others, very few people actually volunteer. Mody would like to see more people, especially area youth, do volunteer work.
“I think everybody needs to spend one day a week, or one day a month being a volunteer,” he said. “That will make a big difference in the lives of so many in our own community. That’s why I want everybody to get involved.”