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Horizon Health Care recognizes honorary staff and investors of 2022

Aug 23, 2022 | Newsroom, Our Staff

On Tuesday, August 9, Horizon Health Care hosted a virtual staff recognition event to honor staff who went above and beyond in their service to their community, as well as donors who have contributed to the Horizon mission in providing access to affordable, high-quality health care.

Horizon welcomed Interim National Association of Community Health Centers President/Chief Executive Officer Rachel Gonzales-Hanson, who spoke on the importance of advocating for community health centers to continue providing vital care for patients in rural communities.

During the program, Horizon presented its Circle of Care Awards to their employees in recognition of staff and teams that have been committed to Horizon’s mission and to their investors in recognition of their continued financial support of Horizon’s clinic and programs across South Dakota.

The Keeping Communities Well Award recognizes an outstanding clinical team that demonstrates excellence in quality, patient care, community involvement, and Horizon’s core values. It was presented to Yankton Community Health Center and Dental Services for their integration of medical and dental care for patients with diabetes, coordination of a local Food Bank, donation of blankets, toys, and hygiene supplies to patients in need, and numerous other programs they initiated to care for their community.

Gary and Debra McKellips

The Team on a Mission Award recognizes an outstanding administrative/support team that takes initiative to improve the organization’s values, efficiency of services, and processes that continue to move the Horizon mission forward. It was presented to the Medical Clinical Support Team for overcoming challenges from the last few years to continually provide patients with high-quality service. The Medical Clinical Support Team includes Darcie Lee, Nurse Manager; Dr. Lance Lim, MD, Chief Medical Officer; Laura Neises, Quality Advisor; Lindsey Heath, Nurse Manager; and Misty Rudebusch, MPAS, PA-C, Medical Director.

The Outstanding Philanthropist Award was presented to Gary and Debra McKellips for their exceptional generosity, through direct financial support, which demonstrates outstanding civic and charitable responsibility and whose generosity encourages others to be philanthropic.

The McKellips have hearts of gold and have been long-time supporters of Horizon. They have a deep understanding of caring for their community and their neighbors through economic development. In 2019, they funded the remodel and new equipment upgrades at the Alcester Dental Clinic and further supported updates to the Alcester Community Health Center. They continually support Horizon’s Smiles for Miles program, which provides children ages 0-5 with free dental care during the month of October. Throughout the Horizon Health Foundation’s Pars for Patients Fundraising Golf Tournament in Alcester this past year, the McKellips were active supporters both financially and in coordinating the event. Gary McKellips has also furthered the Horizon Health Foundation mission by serving on their board since January 2019.

The Outstanding Philanthropic Corporation Award was presented to Alliance Communications for their outstanding commitment through financial support and through encouragement and motivation of others to take leadership roles toward philanthropy and community involvement.

Alliance Communications

Alliance Communications has been a leader in bringing new communications technology to the Midwest, providing telephone, internet, and television service to rural communities. They have partnered with Horizon for the past two decades and have been active supporters of the Horizon Health Foundation for the past four years. Alliance has provided funding for the EMBRACE project, which enhances medical and behavioral health services to rural patients through telemedicine, and for medical and dental equipment in Howard and Alcester to ensure high-quality patient care in those communities.

Thanks to investors like the McKellips and Alliance Communications, the Horizon Health Foundation has raised nearly $1 million to support the Horizon mission and to inspire and empower patients.

During the program, many employees were also celebrated for their longevity with Horizon and their dedication to patient care. Forty-one individuals from across the state were honored with a combined 430 years of experience.

Employees recognized for their longevity included: Carla Esser at Howard Administration (30); Marcia Simon at Family Health Center of Eagle Butte (30); Lisa Virchow at Bryant Community Health Center (25); Debra Douglas at Isabel Community Clinic (25); Nancy Wienk at De Smet CHC (25); Scott Weatherill at Howard Admin (20); Melissa Claussen, Medical Records Clerk (20); Bobbi White at Woonsocket CHC (20); Ryan Spader at Howard Admin (15); Lois Perrine at Howard Admin (15); Len Wonnenberg, PA-C, at James Valley CHC (10); Sarah Knippling at Jerauld County CHC (10); Melissa Hofer at Howard Admin (10); Michelle Scholtz, DDS, at Prairie Winds Dental (10); Stephanie Stevens, Medical Records Clerk (10); Michelle Udelhoven, PA-C, at Mellette County CHC (10); Jessica Meyer at Howard CHC (10); Laurie Bickel at FHC of Eagle Butte (10); Codi Smith at Lake Preston CHC (10); Emily Dillon at Martin CHC (10); Mychelle Donelan at De Smet Dental Services (5); Jolene Egger at Mission CHC (5); Logan Hetland, Patient Care Coordinator (5); Tiffany Knipfer at Jerauld County CHC (5); Kristen Morrow, CNP, at Elk Point CHC (5); Brett Mayer at Howard Admin (5); Alyssa Hicks, CNP, at Mission CHC (5); Alejandro Hernandez at Aberdeen CHC (5); Hilary Haley, DDS, at Aurora County Dental Clinic and Jerauld County CHC (5); Melissa Nehl-Day, DNP, FNP-C, at McIntosh CC and Isabel CC (5); Karla Haas at Howard CHC (5); Rikki Ohlrogge, MSW, LCSW-PIP, Behavioral Health Manager (5); Darin Holter at Howard Admin (5); Shawna Rowcliffe at Howard Admin (5); Doris Ronan at James Valley CHC (5); James Ronan at James Valley CHC (5); Reginald Ashes at Mission CHC (5); Susan Westover, Certified Coder (5); Koel Sievers at James Valley CHC (5); Mandy Oldlodge at Mission CHC (5); and Charise Crompton at Faith Dental Clinic (5).

Horizon’s clinics bring value to their patients and communities because of the diligent work of their staff. They are committed to providing high-quality care to all patients in need, regardless of their ability to pay or insurance status.

About Horizon Health Care, Inc.

For over 40 years, Horizon Health Care has been providing personalized, affordable, high-quality medical, dental and behavioral healthcare through a rural, community-based network in South Dakota. Horizon is a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) that serves the medical, dental and mental healthcare needs of South Dakotans in rural, medically underserved areas through 110,000 patient visits annually in 32 community health centers in: Aberdeen, Alcester, Bison, Bryant, De Smet, Eagle Butte, Elk Point, Faith, Fort Thompson, Howard, Huron, Isabel, La Plant, Lake Preston, Martin, McIntosh, Mission, Plankinton, Wessington Springs, White River, Woonsocket, and Yankton. For more information, please visit

About Horizon Health Foundation

The Horizon Health Foundation was established in 2016 to ensure rural health care access to those in need and provide funding for Horizon Health Care Horizon Health Foundation, a tax-exempt, non-profit corporation, seeks through responsible activities to encourage and derive sustaining gift support from current and former patients and interested friends, including corporate entities. The Horizon Health Foundation Office, operating in coordination with Horizon Health Care, is the duly designated fund-raising arm for Horizon Health Care, Inc.  In the broadest sense, the purpose of the Foundation is to create an awareness of the financial needs of Horizon Health which are not provided by patient charges and to systematically implement plans by which dollar needs can be met. For more information, please visit or call 605.772.4553.

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