As a longtime member of a Society dedicated to the community’s most vulnerable, Henry “Hank” Hermann has extensive experience serving those in need: providing emotional and spiritual support, financial assistance and food aid to those who find themselves in crisis.
Multiple years of befriending those who had experienced misfortune and reflecting on their stories fueled in Hank a passion for doing good. This passion led to the creation of a program which transforms the quality of life of those in need.
While making visits to the homes of people who called the Society for help, Hank noticed a recurring theme. An overwhelming number lacked health insurance coverage and could not afford to pay the out of pocket costs of their necessary prescription medications. These families faced tough choices: pay for expensive medication and skip a trip to the grocery store, paying a utility bill, or even a month’s rent. Or they could pay their bills and skip buying their medication. The latter would almost inevitably lead to worse health complications and even more expensive emergency room visits. Hank noticed that those who could not treat their common, chronic ailments like diabetes, heart disease, or depression often struggled elsewhere in life – poor health was closely linked to the experience of poverty.
Guided by the Vincentian spirit of service, Hank decided to do something about the glaring need. Aware that SVdP councils in other US cities operated charitable pharmacies, Hank was determined to bring one to Texas, and dedicated over 15 years to doing so—pursuing resources, necessary licensures and even changing state law—to make it happen.
The grand opening of St. Vincent de Paul Pharmacy in September 2018 was a significant step forward in providing dignity of access to medication for uninsured North Texans. In its first 6 months, the pharmacy filled 900 prescriptions at no cost to neighbors in need. The pharmacy continues to experience tremendous growth. Last year, SVdP Pharmacy filled 17,000 prescriptions.
Hank’s initiative has provided a critical lifeline to neighbors in need. This is especially true in the wake of COVID-19. SVdP Pharmacy’s formulary contains medications which help to treat and maintain chronic health conditions, many of which put individuals at higher risk of severe complications, should they contract COVID-19.
Because of Hank’s efforts, uninsured Texans living in poverty have a greater ability to manage their health amidst a worldwide health crisis.
Please join us in recognizing Hank for this well-deserved honor.