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Doctor honored for volunteerism
Through his decades of practicing medicine, Dr. R. Neal Boswell has received quite a few awards, but his latest award may be a little more special than the others. It is for work in a program dear to his heart

The Georgia Hospital Heroes Award, presented to him this month by the Georgia Hospital Association, recognizes his years of volunteer work in Brunswick with the Coastal Medical Access Project.

CMAP, 2605 Parkwood Drive, Brunswick, is a nonprofit organization that has provided free health care to uninsured and under-insured patients in southeast Georgia, and Boswell was a key figure in establishing the clinic 14 years ago.

"No, I never expected it," Boswell said of receiving the heroes award. "I'm just another one of those guys who does what he thinks is right."

Doing what is right is a lesson he learned from his parents, both former teachers in Glynn County. Although he didn't follow an educator's path, as his parents did, following a path that led to medical care has allowed the Brunswick native to help his community in a way he feels has a high impact.

After he works his full-time job as a rheumatologist at Southeast Georgia Health System, he walks across Shrine Road in Brunswick to the CMAP office, or takes a 30-minute drive down Interstate 95 to the CMAP location in Camden County, to treat patients.

"I'm a giver," said Boswell, 70, who says he usually works eight hours a week at the free clinics. "These patients have much adversity. It's all about providing care."

Sometimes it's about teaching, as well, and with his knowledge of medicine, Boswell often finds himself teaching the nurse practitioners at CMAP.

"I didn't exactly know I was going to be a teacher, as well," he said. "I teach a lot people here. Teaching is a big part of this."

It isn't the first time Boswell has had a teaching role with medical professionals, as the retired Air Force colonel taught military doctors for 20 years during his military career.

The Glynn Academy graduate received a bachelor's degree from Duke University and a Doctor of Medicine in rheumatology from Harvard University.

Even with his accomplishments and the accolades he has received, he doesn't feel it necessary to put his work with CMAP front and center for everyone to know about, because to him he's just doing what he loves to do.

"If I didn't enjoy working down here at night, I wouldn't come," he said. "So, I don't need validation."

* Coastal People appears Mondays. Contact Martin Rand III at, on Facebook or at 265-8320, ext. 324 to suggest a person for a column.

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