Air date: July 26, 2012
You’d never know Ann Heler was retired. She’s a ball of community energy, and her stirring conscience helped form FernCare, a free medical clinic for those without health insurance. Ann: There was five of us and we were talking, we do this but what else can we do and pretty soon up bubbled up healthcare because if you have it you know you have it and if you don’t have it you really know you don’t have it. Mitch Albom: And these were five people who had no medical experience? Ann: None Mitch Albom: You had none…ziltch Ann: None, None, None Mitch Albom: That’s simple, just open a medical clinic Ann: Yes The clinic, now in its fifth year, treats adults from 19 through 64 with no medical insurance. And outside of one paid employee, the staff does it from the heart. Ann: Every other soul, physicians, phlebotomists, pharmacists, Docs, nurses, medical assistants, benefits counselors, every single including the board, every body else is a volunteer Funding for the clinic comes from the energy of Ann and her peers Ann: We don’t get state money, we don’t get federal money. We get money by the old fashion word hustle. Now in her 70’s, Ann is no stranger to getting involved. She helped form FANS, a community group that fought hate crimes alongside the Ferndale police. She sits on several other boards. When people say why don’t you relax? Ann: I just ask them what is their project. You know I think, what’s there, everybody’s got a project…I think everybody has a project in them. What do you mean it can’t be that don’t tell me no…don’t say no you know you don’t know until Mitch Albom: I’ve got a feeling that it is really hard to tell you no…For very long anyways Ann: LAUGHING ..Well I would love…LAUGHING Ferndale in recent years has become known as a welcoming place. A good amount of that comes from people like Ann who never let retirement or naysayers slow them down. Putting the “community” in “community activist,” Ann Heler is opening doors in the heart of Detroit.