Dear Editor,

When I was a member of the County Board of Health several years ago, we were constantly frustrated by our inability to get money to meet the needs of uninsured adults and children to provide dental care or preventive health care. Fortunately, in 2005, Rick Johnson became the head of River Hills Community Health Center. With his vision, ability to obtain grants and to partner with state and local officials, and his affirming management style, he was able to transform River Hills from a very small agency that could provide very limited services to one of the fourth-largest full-service community health services in Iowa.

Under Johnson's leadership, River Hills currently provides affordable medical services to uninsured children and adults, dental care, women's health care, preventive health and behavioral health services. Johnson has also established satellite clinics in Oskaloosa, Centerville, Richland and Sigourney. Before retiring shortly, he is currently working on obtaining funding for mammograms and colonoscopies for the uninsured.

There is no question that, as mayor, the extraordinary skills that Johnson used to build River Hills will help Ottumwa become as great as possible. If you or anybody you know have benefited from River Hills' services, the best way to to say thanks is to elect Rick Johnson as our next mayor. There is no question.

Dennis L. Wegner, Ottumwa

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