For the fourth year in a row, a GAHHS physician has received the Rural Physician of Excellence Award presented by the Illinois Rural Health Association (IRHA). Richard Foellner, D.O., received this award because of his unwavering dedication and services to improve the quality and access to care in rural medically underserved areas in Illinois. Dr. Foellner’s career started in 1970 and still continues strong to this day. Over the course of his 44 year career, he has had many highlights and accomplishments that make him the very epitome of a rural physician of excellence.
In 1972, Dr. Foellner came to Paxton from his home in Pennsylvania, leaving the hills and mountains to become a flatlander. Since his arrival he has done it all. This includes making house calls, delivering babies, having offices in Paxton, Onarga, Cissna Park and Penfield. He has also served as the Medical Director for Ford County Nursing Home, assisted seven different hospitals and long-term care facilities when needed, and acted as the Paxton High school football team physician for 12 years.
Dr. Foellner has many cherished memories over the course of his career. One of those memories is when he diagnosed his step-daughter with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. He caught it early enough, and she has given him three grandchildren as thanks. Another one of his cherished memories are the two final deliveries he performed. The first of these deliveries was his own daughter, and then four years ago he delivered her daughter in Florida.
Dr. Foellner says he was “born to be a physician” and knew it in the third grade when he visited his doctor because he was so caring and his office smelled of rubbing alcohol. He may have been predestined to become doctor, but that hasn’t stopped him from exploring other hobbies. Some of these hobbies include owning and operating a Christmas tree farm, beekeeping and training for a 16.5 mile hike through the harsh mountains of Pennsylvania, which he completed in April of 2014. In addition to receiving the Rural Physician of Excellence Award, Dr. Foellner also received recognition from both the Illinois House.
Visit the GAHHS Facebook page to view picture of the evening and award presentation.