When West Wind Supper Club owner Tony Leone and former owner Kevin Pechacek held their annual Christmas breakfast on Dec. 25 to raise funds for the Free Clinic of Pierce & St. Croix Counties, they were shocked and amazed by the outpouring of community support.

Over 750 people ate breakfast that morning and collectively donated over $19,000, every single cent of which goes directly to the Free Clinic. “They say a strong community is one that's willing to help their neighbors -- let's just say we're blessed to be a part of this one,” Leone said.

That $19,000-plus will be used to provide health care to residents in our communities – friends, neighbors, and colleagues – who do not have insurance or access to care alternatives. A recent patient shares her gratitude for this gift of health care: “The way the community supports each other in this town is amazing. The words to describe the angels at the free clinic: caring, sweet, compassionate. Thank you very, very much.”

Of course, this event wouldn’t be possible without the dedication of so many volunteers: Leone and his staff buy and donate all of the food and staff time to prep the breakfast; Pechacek volunteers to manage the restaurant on Christmas morning; volunteers help host, serve and clean up, including those from Kinnic Falls ADA services; and you, the community members, came to eat and make a donation, giving those in need the gift of health care.

That $19,000 donation? Well, that is truly a Christmas miracle for so many!

Heartfelt thanks to all.

The Free Clinic of Pierce and St. Croix Counties is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. It provides primary health care and preventative health education for residents of Pierce and St. Croix counties who have no health care alternative. Services are provided according to need, without discrimination based on race, religion, gender or sexual orientation.

Additional information, www.freeclinicpiercestcroix.org.

Amy Tix

River Falls