While community health care is a priority for Lynnette Hendrickson at her chiropractic practice, her investment in Newton goes much deeper.
From Big Brothers, Big Sisters to Safehope, Hendrickson has helped serve a number of agencies aimed at building a better community over the years — and her commitment to community was recently recognized as she was named one of this year's Newton Women of the Year honorees.
Originally from Colorado, Hendrickson attended Cleveland Chiropractic College in Overland Park (where she met her husband, Todd). Initially, she had no intention of staying in Kansas, but — as she put it — it seemed that God had other plans.
After the Hendricksons established their practice in Newton and Hesston, they began to get involved in the community health picture (i.e. participating in health fairs, speaking engagements, etc). That was just the start for Lynnette, though, whose investment grew stronger through the church — initially at First Missionary Church and then with Riverpoint Church.
"I was involved in Bible study and there were women attending the study who had either been in the programs at Safehope or Mirror and I just have a heart for helping people who are struggling through situations and they have nowhere to turn. So, I kind of got involved with the church and bringing items there and then when I saw other opportunities to be involved I was happy to jump on board," Hendrickson said. "I struggled as a single mom for many years, putting myself through school. There were people who helped me out in various different ways and I just feel compelled to help others (who are) less fortunate. I believe that I've been very blessed, with not only the ability but the resources to help, so I just think it's the right thing to do."
Being a mother of four children who have gone/are going to area schools, education has also been a realm where Hendrickson has spent a lot of time helping the community — whether assisting with physicals at local schools (with part of the proceeds being donated back to the schools' athletic departments) or sponsoring any number of community events, like team fundraisers.
Hendrickson has also been a consistent participant in the annual KidFEST since Harvey County United Way took over, providing spinal screenings at the event and also going over general health concerns with those who attend each year. She has also helped with Peace Connections' annual Celebrity Servers fundraiser and sponsors an Angel Tree for Safehope each year, on top of constant efforts of philanthropic marketing to help collect goods for local agencies (i.e. Agape, New Hope, etc.) that serve others in need.
"We like to partner with agencies that need something, whether it's food, clothing or money for funding, and we like to offer services in exchange for a donation to whatever that organization is and that's worked out really well," Hendrickson said.
Even though her community endeavors are almost too numerous to list — including teaching Zumba at the Newton YMCA, donations to the Newton Et Cetera Shop and much more — Hendrickson said she was shocked to be notified she would be on of this year's Newton Women of the Year honorees.
"To be quite honest, I was absolutely flabbergasted. I had no idea whatsoever and I had really never thought about it too much, but after I got the phone call and I was given the nomination form ... it was overwhelming. I feel humbled and honored, but I was very surprised. The feedback and the response people have given me, it's just been unbelievable, but I just feel like I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing," Hendrickson said. "There's so many amazing women in our community and to be able to be up there next to them is just pretty special."
From the testimony of those who nominated her, Hendrickson is a clear cut candidate for Newton Woman of the Year — not only because of all she does for community organizations, but simply through the model she sets as a wife, mother and businesswoman "with a heart of gold," as one nomination form put it.
Along with this year's other honorees (Val Gleason and Christa Jahay), Hendrickson will be recognized at 9 a.m. April 6 at a brunch celebration at the Meridian Center.
That recognition is something that Hendrickson said will push her to keep going and, hopefully, promote more investment in the community from others.
"It makes me realize what an impact one person can have, and if I can just inspire one other person to do that and they can inspire another person, next thing you know we have a community of people serving other people," Hendrickson said. "It definitely inspires me to do as much as I can do to make a difference."