Jefferson Award Winner: Pat Hannack - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Jefferson Award Winner: Pat Hannack

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Chippewa Falls (WQOW) -- Pat Hannack might work under the title of 'pharmacy technician', but those who know Pat says that does not begin to describe all the work she does at the Open Door Free Clinic in Chippewa Falls.

Pat is this month's winner of the Jefferson Award for Public Service.

When most people set life goals, things like travel and wealth make the list. Pat Hannack is not most people.

"This is on my bucket list. I always wanted to do something for my community. I work in a pharmacy as my regular job so I thought his would help out," said Pat.

Pat has been volunteering at the free clinic since it opened in 2009, with the goal of keeping her community healthy.

"I've always been in the mind that we should do things locally for our own," said Pat. "If we can help people to get what they need so that they can stay healthy, in the long run it's going to help all of us."

Whether volunteering at the clinic or working her paid job at a pharmacy in Lake Hallie, Pat never truly clocks out.

"If I see somebody that can't afford their meds, they have no insurance, I'll say 'Gee, we have a free clinic, we meet on Tuesdays, stop on down.' Or call the clinic to see if we can do something for you. And I have sent people down here, because there is a need in this town," said Pat.

She is constantly looking for ways to go above and beyond. One example is when she saw that a diabetic patient was forced to spend $350 dollars for their medication. Pat called drug companies to see if there was a way to cut those costs, eventually finding a coupon for that patient.

"After the coupon goes through, they pay $45. So that's a significant savings," said Pat.

Pat does not drive, but is never late and never misses a day. Those who work with her call her selfless, but Pat prefers a different adjective -- fulfilled.

"All the people here, that work here -- we're all workers. It's such a camaraderie. We enjoy coming, we laugh, we joke," said Pat.

Although her work dispensing medication does not allow her to have much direct contact with the patients, she says there are countless signs that her work is working.

"I do get to see the results of it," said Pat. "When you see somebody that comes in and the next month they come in and all the sudden they are not on as many meds, or the drop by on the way out and go 'thank you for being here'. Those are the days that count. Those are the days that make you feel like you are worthwhile. Like, hey, I did something."

Pat is one of more than a hundred volunteers at the Open Door Free Clinic, but they are always looking for more. You can also help by simply eating out. On May 18th, the clinic is partnering with area restaurants with 25% of your bill going to support the Open Door Clinic. 

A big congratulations to Pat! If you know a volunteer making a difference in your community, click here to fill out a Jefferson Awards nomination form.
 

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