SEARCH is soon to have a meeting – the first since March – and you’re invited! It will be at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 11, and it will be virtual. This community group is entering its fourth year doing what its name says – Sustaining Essential and Rural Community Healthcare.

In the months since Covid hit, SEARCH has been active, with the Leadership Team meeting weekly via Zoom to create a video and a Powerpoint to tell what the organization has done and plans to do.

A video will be the centerpiece of the August 11 event. Composed with photographs and music generously contributed by local professionals, the video brings to life SEARCH’s commitment to foster and defend local healthcare.

SEARCH recently achieved nonprofit status and has put together its inaugural board of directors, who’ll be introduced during the event. New to SEARCH are Denise Collier of Burnsville, Conrad Leavitt of Burnsville, George Walter of Little Switzerland, Patricia Evans of Burnsville, and Alex Green of Bakersville and Asheville. They join five members of the initial SEARCH Leadership group Karin Rolett of South Toe, Risa Larsen of Spruce Pine, Susan Larson of Spruce Pine, Britt Kaufmann of Burnsville, and Jon Ward of Burnsville. Co-leaders are Risa Larsen and Susan Larson, Secretary is Britt Kaufmann, and Jon Ward is Treasurer. They all have their own stories about why the mission of SEARCH resonates with them.

Attendees of this meeting, scheduled for an hour, will get a taste of what’s on the menu of initiatives planned or already under way and will have an opportunity to give feedback and ask questions. In fact, it’s a good idea to submit questions beforehand at

This SEARCH meeting is easy to attend – no driving, no food preparation, no weather disturbances. Casual, even super casual attire, is fine. There are some requirements, though: come with an open mind about what we need in order to create the best healthcare system for Mitchell and Yancey counties.

There will be a question and answer session as well. Request a link to Zoom to join the meeting at If you have questions, send them in advance to the same email address.

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