“Dream Becomes a Reality”… Those were the headlines of the Fennimore Times on July 20, 1983. It was the dream of a wise committee and the Fennimore citizens to increase health services of Fennimore by building a new clinic in Fennimore. As early as 1978, talks began with Fennimore’s only physician, Dr. Charles Shields, to recruit another physician. That need became crucial in January of 1982, when the popular doctor died.
A committee called Fennimore Area Health Services, LTD was established in 1982 and articles of incorporation were signed by then Secretary of State Douglas Lafollette in January of 1983. The articles’ purpose was simply stated “to build a medical clinic in Fennimore” as well as eliminate sickness and disease, educate the community and improve the health and well-being of the community.
The initial committee, under the direction of then president James Larson, included Kathy Borowski, Sarah Lendosky, Keith Rands, Russell May, Doug Daeschel, Robert Novinska, Ray Hoffman, Willis Hamilton, Richard Nelson, Sybil Koenecke. This committee decided to initiate a fund drive, which began in May of 1983, to raise funds for the construction of a clinic. The lofty goal of $300,000 was started with a generous donation of$40,000 from Harold and Grace Plattner (the Plattner clinic was the name given to the newbuilding and ended with over $306,000.
A groundbreaking ceremony was held July 19, 1983 and a dedication ceremony was held April 1984. The first physician recruited for the clinic was Dr David Blair of Canada who stayed about a year and chose to return to his native Nova Scotia in the summer of 1984. Physician services were then provided by Boscobel Hospital at the clinic as the Boscobel Hospital was working with the Fennimore Area Health Service committee to recruit another physician. ‘In October of 1985, Dr. Eulogio Augilar moved from New Jersey to practice as he continues to this day to do so.
Dental services began with the practice of Dr. Richard Lofthouse, who continues to provide dental services to the community. The pharmacy building housing Hartig’s Pharmacy is also owned by the FAHS group, purchased in an effort to maintain pharmacy services in Fennimore.
The other goal of educating the community regarding health services became a reality in 1987 when the committee began awarding scholarships to Fennimore High School graduates. Laurie Ryman of Stitzer became the first recipient tin June of 1987. In 1989, Grant Williams, a practicing chiropractor, received the scholarship as well as Jeanne Kretschman (now Tobin) who is a now a practicing physican’s assistant, Over the years numerous scholarships have been awarded to deserving students entering the health care field.