Seven health service providers and volunteers from across Upper
Michigan were honored Thursday for their contributions in assisting
uninsured Upper Peninsula residents to gain access to health care. They
received 2012 “Hero for the Uninsured” Awards at the 5th annual
recognition dinner in Marquette, sponsored by the Upper Peninsula Health
Access Coalition in cooperation with local access coalitions and
hospitals from across the U.P.
“UPHAC is pleased to recognize special people in 2012 for extending
exceptional assistance to uninsured residents of their communities,” said
Bill Reid, UPHAC board president.
“Recipients of the Dr. Richard Imm Memorial ‘Hero’ Award and six other
‘Hero for the Uninsured’ Awards represent hundreds of others who partner
with local access coalitions of the U.P. to selflessly respond to needs
of families, friends and neighbors who lack health care coverage.”
This year’s “Hero for the Uninsured” Awardees are:
* The Rev. Dr. David Mair of Marquettel: the Richard Imm
Memorial “Hero” Award. A long-time commitment to social responsibility
through his affiliation with the Presbyterian Church led to Dr. Mair’s
vision for a faith-based response to address health care needs of
uninsured residents in his community. With support of medical, community
and religious leaders, his efforts led to the founding of Medical Care
Access Coalition (MCAC) in Marquette County in 2000 and, ultimately, to
creation of four other Local Access Coalitions that now serve the Upper
Peninsula’s uninsured population. He helped guide MCAC’s first 10 years
as a member of its Board of Directors.
* Bonnie Hafeman, MD, of the Laurium Wellness Center: recognized as a
“Most Valuable Partner” in serving the medical care needs of uninsured
residents of the Keweenaw Peninsula since 2005 in cooperation with the
Western U.P. Healthcare Access Coalition (WUPHAC).
* Kim McCullough, MD, of Sault Ste. Marie, also recognized as a “Most
Valuable Partner,” is commended for his long-standing advocacy for and
commitment to providing general surgery care for patients in his
community regardless of their ability to pay. He has been a generous
volunteer specialty care provider for nearly 100 patients of Community
Health Access Coalition (CHAC) of the eastern Upper Peninsula since 2004.
* Virginia Feleppa, MD, of Iron Mountain, honored as an “Above & Beyond”
Hero, not only assisted in establishing the Dickinson-Iron Medical Care
Access Coalition (DIMCAC) in her community in 2004 but has championed its
work by recruiting physicians and other health care providers to donate
services for the uninsured. She came out of retirement in 2009 to care
for DIMCAC patients and others served by the Federally Qualified Health
Center Clinic in Spaulding.
* Thomas Mack, MD, of Marinette, WI, was among the first volunteer care
providers to join the Twin Counties Free Clinic which, since 2000, has
served patients from Marinette County in Wisconsin and Menominee County
in Michigan. He currently is the clinic’s president and an active and
on-call care provider, reviewing lab work and authorizing prescriptions
for all clinic patients, including Medical Access Coalition enrollees. He
is being recognized as an “Above & Beyond” Hero.
* Larry Buege, PA-C, of Marquette was honored as a ”Personal Touch” Hero
for his volunteer role post-retirement as a compassionate and committed
health care provider at Medical Care Access Coalition’s twice-monthly
clinics and in facilitating MCAC scheduling of new patients for
appointments. His empathetic and understanding demeanor wins his
patients’ confidence and respect.
* Wilkinson Dental of Marquette was recognized as an “Innovation
Hero” for responding to the need of uninsured Marquette County residents
for dental care services by hosting three free clinics in 2011 in
cooperation with Medical Care Access Coalition. Christopher Wilkinson,
DDS, and his staff provided nearly $20,000 in dental services during 38
A total of 12 individuals, community programs and health care
organizations were nominated for 2012 “Hero for the Uninsured” Awards.
The speaker for the event was Thomas LeGalley, MD, cardiologist and a
founding member of the access coalition network in the Upper Peninsula.
Local access coalitions serve uninsured residents all 15 U.P. counties
through their work with local health care providers, pharmacies and
prescription services, doctors, hospitals and clinics, and individual
volunteers who donate health care and related services.
For information about their programs for uninsured adults, contact the
local access coalition in your area:
• Community Health Access Coalition: serving the eastern three counties,
in Chippewa – 906.635.7483; in Mackinac – 906.643.7253; in Luce –
• Dickinson-Iron Medical Care Access Coalition: in Dickinson County –
906.774.3980; in Iron County – 906.265.4044.
• Medical Access Coalition of Delta and Menominee Counties: in Delta
County — 906.789.1627, and in Menominee County – 906.863.4051.
• Medical Care Access Coalition: in Marquette County — 906.226.4400; in
Alger County – 906.387.4110 ext. 124; and in Schoolcraft County –
• Western Upper Peninsula Healthcare Access Coalition: serving the five
western counties of the region from Hancock – 906.482.7122.