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Elizabeth Phelps: Proud to be part of a team

Clinic volunteer finds great satisfaction in helping others

Published: Saturday, Feb. 23, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT
(Josh Peckler –
Elizabeth Phelps talks to patients on the phone at Family Health Partnership Clinic in Woodstock. Phelps volunteers at the clinic three times a week, contacting patients about appointments and medicine pickups.

Elizabeth Phelps has worn many different hats over the years.

The Johnsburg businesswoman has served on a planning and zoning board, worked in hospital gift shops, and even taught Sunday school, among other things.

But her true passion is volunteering at the Family Health Partnership Clinic in Woodstock.

“You name it, I’ve probably done it,” said Phelps, 57. “True heroes are the people who donate time and don’t think about what they are doing because they just want to help other people.”

Phelps works as a part-time reviewer for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program through Information Systems and Networks Corp. She was an account representative for Procter & Gamble from 1985 to 2010.

Her volunteering at the health care provider for uninsured and underinsured residents of McHenry County started in March 2010 after reading a magazine article about volunteering.

Her desire to help combined with an upbringing in the health care industry in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, with a father who was a doctor and mother who worked in hospital gift shops led her to the Family Health Partnership Clinic.

“Growing up, mom and dad were very involved,” Phelps said. “[My dad] was originally a small-town doctor, and once he passed, I heard about all these amazing things he did for people. My mother was also very involved.”

She started at the clinic by helping with filing duties and later joined the Care 4 Breast Cancer 5K committee. She managed the volunteers at the finish line her first year, and served as chief and co-chief of all volunteers the past two years.

The event featured more than 600 volunteers in 2012.

“It’s just incredible,” Phelps said of the race. “These [volunteers] are people who all have busy lives who work. It’s an emotional thing seeing those people cross the finish line.”

In addition to her work with the breast cancer race, Phelps also volunteers with the clinic’s Patient Assistance Medications program, helping a staff member manage hundreds of patients.

Pharmaceutical companies donate medications that are sent to the clinic for patients who qualify for their programs, and the medications are then distributed for free.

Her tasks include logging medications shipped to the clinic and contacting patients to arrange for them to pick up prescriptions.

In one month alone, Phelps helped patients receive about $175,000 worth of medications at a reduced cost.

“It’s almost addicting, trying to get medications to patients as fast as I can,” Phelps said. “There are so many people out there with serious medical conditions. It’s great to be part of a team of doctors and nurses who are getting medications to the patients.”

The Phelps lowdown

Who she is? Volunteer at Family Health Partnership Clinic in Woodstock

Hometown: Johnsburg

Family: Married for 33 years, and has a 29-year-old son.

Part-time job: Reviewer for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program through Information Systems and Networks Corp.

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