06/20/2010 05:12 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Connie Blackwell: Nurse Starts Clinic To Treat People Who Can't Afford Health Insurance

As a nurse practitioner for over 20 years, Connie Blackwell has seen it all, but the one thing she can't stand to see is struggling families missing out on the health care they need because they can't afford insurance.

The Star Tribune reports, Blackwell responded by founding a local clinic that provides free health care to the uninsured. The cost of the services provided are covered by donations and grants -- some families even contribute money for services they received during tougher times.

"For families barely making it, Connie Blackwell and her staff are like lifelines," said Anoka County Commissioner Rhonda Sivarajah.

People come from all over Minnesota to receive care from Blackwell and her team of nurses. When a high school track star, hoping to use a track scholarship to attend college, found his senior season in jeopardy because his family lost their insurance coverage, Blackwell's team was there to give him the free physical he needed to compete. When a single mother too poor to afford insurance found herself struggling to care for her premature baby, Blackwell once again came to the rescue.