The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

April 16, 2012

A calling: Van Maanen offers a healing touch

OTTUMWA — Editor’s Note: This is the third in a series of stories about the men and women selected as this year’s Heroes of the Heartland for the Southern Prairie chapter of the American Red Cross. An awards breakfast and program will be held Friday at the Indian Hills Community College Dining Room.

Helping others is a calling for Dr. Ryan Van Maanen.

The good doctor single-handedly began a free medical clinic in Ottumwa, working there nearly every night it has been open. He serves those who might not otherwise have access to reasonable health care.

But it’s not just southeast Iowa that has felt Dr. Van Maanen’s healing touch.

He spent nine days recently serving patients in and around Battambang, Cambodia. During that time, he saw more than 400 patients — the majority of whom never really had any access to real medical care. Their only options were from local witch doctors.

“Ryan really care for all the people he sees. His goal isn’t just to heal the person’s illness, but also to hear their story and show them that someone cares from him,” said Cy McMahon.

“Ryan is a hero because his focus is always on how he and his family can serve someone else. He is an example for all of us that putting others first is a way of life and one that is possible, here in Ottumwa and around the world.”

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