SPRINGFIELD – Governor Pat Quinn today announced that lifelong Rushville physician Russell Dohner has been selected as grand marshal of this year’s Illinois State Fair Twilight Parade on Thursday, August 8. Dohner has practiced medicine in western Illinois for 58 years, charging only a small amount to ensure that all of his patients can afford quality care. Today’s announcement follows Governor Quinn’s recent signing of a law that enacted the largest increase in health insurance coverage in state history, one of the Governor’s 2013 legislative priorities and a key part of President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act.
“No one embodies the State Fair theme of ‘Where Illinois Comes Together’ better than Dr. Dohner,” Governor Quinn said. “His example of service and concern for everyday people have brought the people of western Illinois together for almost six decades. We are honored to have him lead the parade that kicks off this year’s fair.”
The 88-year-old Dohner, a World War II veteran and a graduate of Northwestern University Medical School, has served as a physician in Rushville since 1955. Concerned that many of his patients might not be able to afford adequate medical care, Dohner only charges $5 per office visit. He is the only doctor that many in the community of 3,200 residents have ever known, and the lines that form in his office are a testament to the respect and admiration Dohner’s patients have for his professionalism and compassion. Dohner still insists on personally seeing every patient that shows up in his office each day. He has been the subject of stories in People magazine and in newspapers throughout the country.
“The Illinois State Fair is a place where Illinoisans come together to celebrate the best our state has to offer, whether it’s in agriculture or, in Dr. Dohner’s case, medicine,” State Fair Manager Amy Bliefnick said. “He’s an excellent choice to lead the Twilight Parade and begin our state’s premier summer festival.”
The Twilight Parade begins at 6 p.m. at the corner of 9th Street and North Grand Avenue and ends inside the Illinois State Fairgrounds. For more information, visit www.illinoisstatefair.info. The Illinois State Fair runs Friday, August 9 through Sunday, August 18.