HealthNet celebrates 25 years

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Photo provided Heidi Horton, a volunteer Physician's Assistant, examines a HealthNet patient and discusses his progress with him. HealthNet is hosting a 25th anniversary celebration which is open to the community.

JANESVILLE - Everyone's invited to a heartwarming celebration of HealthNet's 25th year serving Rock County.

The founder of HealthNet, Alice Plautz, will be present. The festivities are hoped to re-engage donors and volunteers and let the community know all that HealthNet has to offer.

"If you've ever wondered what HealthNet is, what it does and why it's here or how to become involved, come out to the event," HealthNet of Rock County Development Director Heidi Van Kirk said. "It's going to be a room filled with compassionate people who have been doing this a long time. It's a great way to be inspired."

The 25th anniversary celebration will be held from 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. on April 18 at The Armory, 10 S. High St. in Janesville. The event is free. There will be hors d'oeuvres as well as a cash bar.

"We are excited to celebrate the past 25 years and those who have made this life changing organization possible. Our greatest goal in hosting the 25th Anniversary Celebration, is to be able to honor and thank the many volunteers and donors who have contributed in countless ways over the years. This is why this event is at no charge, proudly sponsored by HealthNet of Rock County Inc. 2018-2019 Board of Directors," Van Kirk said.

At the event, guests can follow "footprints" on the floor to see a visual timeline of the history of HealthNet. At 7 p.m. volunteers and those from the Rock County Historical Society will tell the story of HealthNet complete with a slide show. Van Kirk said she wanted to thank Teresa Nguyen from Rock County Historical Society and Steve Sheiffer for helping HealthNet tell its story and Best Events and Fetch Graphics for helping to provide the perfect atmosphere for the celebration.

HealthNet is a free and charitable clinic which services the uninsured and low income population at 23 W. Milwaukee St., Janesville, and on Thursdays in Beloit at a site within Beloit Health System. HealthNet also provides Badgercare at its dental clinic at 1344 Creston Park Drive, Janesville. It had more than 6,000 patient visits last year.

HealthNet survives thanks to an active board and lots of volunteers including doctors, dentist and translators. There is only one paid dentist.

When HealthNet first began, Van Kirk said it addressed urgent healthcare needs. Over time it's transitioned into offering more of a preventative care approach, treating the whole person.

"We've been working to educate patients and prevent problems," Van Kirk said.

Van Kirk added the dental program has grown rapidly over the years.

"There will always be gaps in the healthcare system and our mission is not to let anyone fall through those gaps," she said. "Everyone deserves healthcare. As long as there are volunteers and people with big hearts, HealthNet will sustain."

Van Kirk said the event will be a great way for people to meet those who have contributed to HealthNet's success.

"It's going to be awesome to see how many people put their heart into it over 25 years," she said.

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