North Idaho’s Heritage Health tees off to support accessible health care
By Taylor Shillam
Heritage Health was founded on a desire to provide “health care from the heart": quality medical care available to any community member who needed it. On September 24, they will celebrate their cause at the annual Holes for Heroes Charity Golf Tournament.
Serving North Idaho since 1985, Heritage Health is a private, nonprofit organization that began as a free volunteer clinic. Its beginning was inspired by a community-based effort to make quality health care more accessible. Today, Heritage Health is a full-time community health center, serving thousands of patients across North Idaho each year.
On Friday, September 24, at Hayden Lake’s Avondale Golf Course, Heritage Health’s annual charity golf tournament Holes for Heroes will raise funds to support North Idaho’s financially vulnerable, with the goal to help those families gain access to health care. All proceeds from the event will benefit the MaryEllen Scholarship Fund, which helps cover health-care costs for Heritage Health’s most vulnerable patients.
In addition to raising money and awareness for the cause, Holes for Heroes presents the opportunity to unwind with other locals, meet people, and enjoy an evening on the course.
“This is a networking event. We look forward to gathering with our friends and neighbors and celebrating our community, raising awareness about mental health, elder care (health care at home) and many of our other services,” shared Pam Houser, VP of Community Relations for Heritage Health.
Dozens of local businesses and community partners will donate raffle prizes for the event, with prizes including barbecues, golf packages, wine baskets and a selection of gift cards.
Holes for Heroes hosts nearly 140 guests per year, making it the top fundraiser for Heritage Health. With snacks, drinks, games and prizes offered in addition to golf, the event has seen incredible success.
“We have raised over $20,000 net profit in the past,” Houser shared. “All these funds help support our Mary Ellen Scholarship program—patients can request assistance for their medical, dental and mental health visits through this program. It provides access to health care that, otherwise, many would not have.”
With 12 unique locations across three counties, Heritage Health offers two dozen programs and services, from pediatric to elder health care and everything in between. They are dedicated to addressing the impact of disease and maintaining values based on the love, service and honor of neighbors and friends.
For Heritage Health, the needs of its patients and the local community are at the heart of its strategies and operations. Heritage Health bases its culture, scheduling, service selection and more on the needs of their patients. Governed by a board of directors, the board is unique in that it is primarily comprised of active patients within Heritage Health facilities, providing the organization a firsthand perspective on those specific needs. Their widely accessible health services include medical, dental, behavioral, pediatric, and more, delivered by primary care providers who maintain a diverse skill set.
Overall, the mission behind Heritage Health is clear. “We are committed to building the most incredible health-care system that patients have ever seen,” their website reads. “We will never give up, we will never lose hope, because we know that together we can change the health-care experience.”
Heritage Health values their fundraising events as an opportunity to share the story of their founder, Lidwina Dirne, a single mother with disabilities who was unable to afford medical care for herself or her family. It was from directly experiencing the impact of health-care inaccessibility that Dirne created the free clinic that would later become Heritage Health.
Every event by Heritage Health allows them to share Dirne’s story and continue her mission, raising the funds that allow them to deliver on providing accessible, discounted health-care services to those in need.
They look forward to the Holes for Heroes Charity Golf Tournament teeing off at 12:30pm.
“This is such a fun tournament,” Houser said. “We have fabulous hole sponsors out on the course with games, prizes, beverages and snacks. It’s one of the last tournaments of the season, and we have been blessed with good Indian summer weather most years, so it’s a nice way to support a great cause while enjoying those last days of summer.” Holes for Heroes presents the opportunity to end the summer on a high note, spending an evening on the course to support a great cause. There are no special requirements for attending the event; following registration, just come ready to enjoy the evening. “What’s best of all, is anyone can participate,” Houser confirmed. “You don’t have to be good, you just have to love fun.”
For those who would like to attend, register online at MyHeritageHealth.org/events/holes-for-heroes.