When Will Coleman left Boydton to go to the University of Virginia to attend college, he had no idea that he would end up back in his hometown running the PATHS Boydton Pharmacy. It wasn’t until his second year at UVA as a biology major that he knew that becoming a pharmacist was the path that he wanted to take. Coleman remembers the Boydton Pharmacy closing right before he left for college, and thought that it was something that his town needed and that it was a shame that it had to close. That memory came back to him while at UVA when he made the decision to pursue a career as a pharmacist. Upon graduating from UVA, Coleman went to Virginia Commonwealth University to get his pharmacy degree. The third year of pharmacy school has students travel across the country interning at pharmacies. Coleman used that year to travel as far away as Alaska and as close to home as Clarksville, training and learning about the field. Coleman also spent time in Roanoke at the Veterans Affairs Hospital as well. When he graduated from VCU with his pharmacy degree he knew that he wanted to provide a service to his hometown.
That dream became a reality in December of 2018, when he was hired as the Pharmacist in charge at the newly opened PATHS Boydton Pharmacy. Coleman’s family has lived in Boydton for generations, and the plaque outside of the pharmacy confirms that. Coleman’s Grocery Store operated in the exact spot that Will Coleman works at now. The plaque outside says circa 1931 and Coleman’s great grandfather ran the store. His grandfather and father also worked there before it closed. It is a special thing for Coleman to work in the same building that his great grandfather made a living in close to ninety years ago.
Piedmont Access To Health Services Inc. (PATHS) was founded in 2001 by Kay Crane as a way to provide healthcare to citizens of southern Virginia and the surrounding areas. PATHS is a non profit organization that relies heavily on grant money to be able to provide the citizens with quality affordable care. PATHS core value according to their website is that “everyone has the right to quality healthcare. Including the uninsured and underinsured.” Since its founding, PATHS has grown tremendously. They have medical facilities, dental facilities, pharmacies and women’s clinics throughout southern Virginia, from Martinsville to Boydton and in between. PATHS uses a sliding scale fee that is based off of household income. Their scale is A-F with everyone being guaranteed F. A is for lowest income. When you first come into their medical facilities you fill out the form and wherever you fit on the scale, is the same one used at the pharmacy. You do not have to be uninsured or indigent to use PATHS facilities either.
At PATHS Boydton Pharmacy, Coleman has done a lot in very little time. He currently has one part time pharmacist that assists him, as well as two pharmacy technicians, a cashier and a delivery driver. They currently do home deliveries of prescriptions to clients three days a week. Coleman also does medication therapy management, where he sits down with customers and goes over all of their medications and checks to see if they have any questions or issues with their medications. They will soon start doing adherence packaging, where when they fill certain people’s prescriptions they will package them by dates and times to be taken instead of putting them all into one bottle. Coleman says that this is for people that may have trouble keeping track or for the elderly to make sure they take the correct amount of medications at the correct time. Coleman also said they are working to help patients with medication synchronization, where people that have multiple prescriptions that are filled at different times will be able to work with Coleman to be able to fill them all at once instead of coming back several times a week.
PATHS Boydton Pharmacy is also in the process of doing renovations to help add to their over the counter inventory. Coleman says that when they are done they will be able to add more shelving to make the front end of the store full of over the counter items. He goes on to say that many of their over the counter items, one example being tylenol, costs the same as or less than big name stores such as Wal Mart and Dollar General. They are also able to provide prescription refills to everyone, not just PATHS patients. If you live in Boydton, but use a doctor in South Hill or another town, you can still have your prescription refilled by PATHS Boydton Pharmacy. Coleman says that he sees a lot of people that say they do not use his pharmacy because they thought it was only for those people that used PATHS, so he wanted to remind the community that anyone is welcome to use their pharmacy.
Will Coleman has been able to provide quality care and service to his hometown, and that means the world to him. “I feel like I am living a dream. I am literally able to walk up the hill and go to work and do something that I love, serving the people that I love.” Coleman says. Coleman’s story is one of those out of a book, being able to go off to school, get a great education, and come back home to work in the place where he and his family have lived for generations. The Town of Boydton and PATHS Boydton Pharmacy are lucky to have someone like Will Coleman taking care of them,