This February we are featuring Ali Thakkar, a pharmacist who owns The Laurel Main Street Pharmacy.
Patrons for Peace Project is extremely fortunate to be able to use the services provided by The Main Street Pharmacy for our clients. This pharmacy is housed in a relatively small space, but the many moving parts make up a powerhouse of therapeutic pharmaceutical tasks. The pharmacy is run very efficiently with a staff of seven where customers may hear French, Spanish, Hindi, Korean and of course, English spoken.
Ali can multitask using critical thinking skills tailoring and keeping the needs of each client on his mind as he fills prescriptions, counsels, and educates them about their medications. He is patient and adapts his protocol to meet the needs of his clients. The pharmacy can provide compliance packaging, bubble packaging, in addition to compounding where medications can be prepared in unique formulas for specific client needs. The pharmacy can provide Flu, Pneumonia, and Shingles vaccine to clients when needed.
The Laurel Main Street Pharmacy specializes in working with clients who have chronic conditions so
helping this population of people to be compliant with medication schedules is at the front of Ali’s mind. He has an auto-fill program set for clients at their request and three drivers who can deliver medication throughout Prince George’s County, Baltimore and of course locally here in Laurel.
Ali has created an atmosphere at The Main Street Pharmacy with his staff where our clients feel welcomed, respected, and cared for in a manner so they know they are getting special treatment. When they walk in the door services are quick, compassionate and their name is known. What Patrons for Peace Project Inc. really likes about The Main Street Pharmacy is that everyone is treated like a VIP when they come through the door. We are so grateful to Ali and his incredibly wonderful staff!
Patrons for Peace Project is incredibly grateful to Marty, the house manager at the Champ House in Bowie, Maryland. This chemical dependency recovery program is tucked away on a beautiful spacious wooded property and can house up to 16 men. We are so fortunate to be able to partner with this wonderful program for our clients who are ready to try a new life without drugs and alcohol.
Marty has created a great atmosphere at Champ House where men who feel unloved are loved despite their pasts. Men who do not feel respected are respected; men who have given up hope finally feel hopeful about their future. Marty creates an atmosphere of acceptance and serenity because he, himself is in recovery from drugs and alcohol. He has walked in many ways in the shoes of each person who enters this program. He can actually say, “I know how you feel. I’ve been there and I’ve done that. But look at me now.” He explains that with a 12-step program and God, he overcame his addiction and continues to work on abstinence one day at a time.
Marty went into his first recovery program at a place called “Second Genesis,” a two-year program in 1984. Part of the admission process was an initial drug screen. When the staff at Second Genesis asked him, “What’s gonna’ show up,” he replied, “Everything. Heroin, barbiturates, PCP, methamphetamines, and cocaine.” In other words, Marty was using anything and everything that he could get his hands on to snort, swallow, and/or inject. He walked out of Second Genesis in 30 days not ready to stop the vicious cycle of addiction at that point in his life. His past includes incarceration, multiple admissions to chemical dependency programs and methadone maintenance. Many would have described him as hopeless — a lost cause.
As of January 1, 2021 Marty will have been clean (drug and alcohol free) for 28 years and four months. He cares so much about people in recovery that he has made it his life’s work to help chemically dependent people because he lives on the premises of the Champ House. He monitors, mentors, cooks, cleans, and helps to run the 12-step meetings where the men live. Marty knows how to interact with a multitude of personalities. He has a great sense of humor and knows how to model his solid spiritual foundation enjoying life in a clean state with one of his hobbies of riding his motorcycle.
Marty is a miracle and Patrons for Peace Project is so very thankful to him. He is a living example of hope and a testament to the concept that no chemically person is a hopeless case but instead a miracle waiting to unfold.
Dr Jeffrey Chung is an ophthalmologist and retina specialist who has supported Patrons for Peace Project in numerous ways for many years. He is a true humanitarian who selflessly cares for his patients as if they were part of his family. Our relationship with Dr. Chung began during an emergency with a client who was having a retinal hemorrhage.
Patrons for Peace was helping a homeless man get disability and Social Security had referred him to a neurologist for an evaluation as part of their decision-making process. During this neurological evaluation, the neurologist was alarmed and reported the client was having a retinal hemorrhage and needed immediate emergency surgery, or he would go blind. He promptly stopped the exam. This was a terrifying situation in the late afternoon on a Friday. Patrons for Peace Project made many unsuccessful phone calls to many doctors. When Dr. Chung was contacted, he asked that we bring the client immediately to his office and not to worry that he had no insurance. He assured us that saving his eyesight was most important. It was truly a miracle that this amazing flexible and talented doctor stayed in his office waiting for this man and ended up performing emergency laser eye surgery and saved his eyesight! All after hours on a Friday night!
Patrons for Peace Project has continued to bring clients over the years to Dr. Chung who have unique needs. Many of these clients have usually either received little or no eye care and have lost hope for answers to their eye maladies. Dr. Chung is empathetic, attentive, honest, proactive, and gives unbiased evidence-based answers to the clients. He spends time with each person treating them with dignity and answering each question thoroughly without rushing. When clients leave his office, they are so thankful that they went.
When the current pandemic arrived Dr. Chung was very prepared. In fact, he was prepared ahead of his time – having clients and office staff wear facial masks in his office before any other offices we work with mandated this practice. Not only was he prepared he wanted us to be prepared during COVID-19. He has generously given us masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer that we use daily. He has generously worked hard gathering and sharing PPE with his colleagues. That behavior of caring for others is typical of Dr. Chung.
Patrons for Peace Project found Dr. Larry Lynn almost two decades ago after making numerous phone calls searching for a psychologist who was willing to do some testing on a man who had been homeless, living in the woods for 40 years. It was obvious that the psychologist would have to be very skilled and willing to make adaptations to traditional methods of gathering information needed. We also needed a kind and patient doctor to interact with this man who had suffered so much trauma. This client had been placed in special education and then was taken out of school in the third grade. No one we called was interested in helping with this situation until we found Dr. Lynn.
Dr. Lynn spent a long time with this man assessing and gathering information. When the man came out of the testing room, he smiled for the first time and stated, “This is the best present I ever got. He said I was OK.” This gentleman had been teased his entire life in group homes and in jail about not having the ability and skills to help himself. He had suffered a stunted learning process his entire life due to his physical appearance and his lack of education because the system labeled and gave up on him. However, he was uplifted and changed forever after Dr. Lynn assessed him and assured him that he had the ability and determination to move forward in life. This finally gave the client some much-needed confidence in himself.
Dr. Lynn has helped Patrons for Peace Project assess many individuals over the years who have been chronically homeless. He understands what testing is needed to help us figure out exactly what is going on so we can help clients move forward. His diverse background, which includes having worked at the Department of Corrections doing court assessments and teaching, helps to make him an incredibly resourceful, intuitive, and insightful psychologist. He gains an instant rapport with each person and the clients are always happy that they met with him.
He has changed and saved so many people’s lives by helping Patrons for Peace to assess these individuals. Many of these people can get disability and end up with permanent housing because of his evaluations. Some of these people have neuro-cognitive disorders that have gone undetected for years while they have been homeless. We do have one major complaint about Dr. Lynn – there’s only one of him! Dr. Lynn, we are so grateful to you and all the services you have given to this forgotten population over the years. We could not have been so successful without you!