Letters to the Editor

Local volunteers signed up more than 350 households

I want to thank all the volunteers who trained, took the test and became navigators to help our island friends and neighbors sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. We collectively signed up more than 350 households, of which about 80 percent qualified for Washington Apple Health, the free health coverage.

These wonderful volunteers are Alice Larson, Camille Staczek, Carmelita Logerwell, Carol Ireland-McLean, Chaim Rosemarin, Cherry Champagne, Chris Davis, Debi Richards, Gretchen Gannett, John Staczek, Kate Smith, Kathleen Davis, Kim Farrell, Lee Ockinga, Linda Fox, Mona Hardy, Rhoda Karusaitis, Roxana Rivas, Steve Benowitz, Trudy Rosemarin, Van Crozier and Wally Fletcher.

We could not have reached as many in the Hispanic community without the help of Jessica Lisovsky, who was so very patient and willing to be on hold with the Washington Exchange — it seemed forever — waiting to get a password reset.

Kathleen Johnson of Vashon Youth & Family Services was very generous to pay for the background checks and insurance required for us to be volunteer navigators.

Synthia Downs and Donna Donnelly of Vashon Medical Reserve Corp paid for the all-island mailing, explaining the ACA rules and upcoming events. And then after the park district refused to let us use Chautauqua for free to sign people up for health insurance, they came through again with money to cover the cost of the room rental.

And lastly, a big thank you to Ava Apple of the Vashon Senior Center for letting us use the senior center for sign-ups for free.

Everyone who volunteered and everyone who came to get health insurance had a few groans when the site went down and  a few laughs and, yes, many, many cheers when someone was signed up successfully. Many islanders now have health insurance for the first time and walked out with smiles on their faces.

We Vashonites know how to work together.

— Hilary Emmer

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