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Rudolf Flesch

Rudy and his wife Ronnie have raised six grandchildren over the past 20 years and are still going. Together, they currently care for two grandsons (Christopher, 14 and Jeffrey, 13) who both are on the autism spectrum. Rudy was born and raised in Switzerland. After college, he worked at Credit Suisse for four years until he emigrated to the U.S. in 1965. He worked in New Jersey and New York for nearly forty years, the bulk of which was working for a Swiss manufacturer of bookbinding and newspaper inserting machinery. Then he retired to Blount County, TN in 2006. Rudy and his wife fought hard to protect their grandchildren and ultimately rescued them from the foster care system. In 2017, his grandson Jeffrey was disenrolled suddenly from TennCare, which was when Rudy reached out to the Tennessee Justice Center. TJC supported Rudy in getting Jeffrey back on his insurance. Since then, Rudy has been active in the TJC advocacy network for statewide healthcare policy change. At age 80, Rudy works as a teaching assistant at a local high school in the Maryville area and his grandchildren rely on TennCare for their health insurance. In his role as a teaching assistant, Rudy supports a student with intellectual and developmental disabilities so that he can be well-integrated in his school community. Rudy is a healthcare advocate who speaks multiple languages and enjoys skiing and wildlife photography. Last fall, he spoke out against the harmful Medicaid block grant proposal to protect his family. It is his message that “it is important to fight for the healthcare needs of all kids and seniors in Tennessee. There are many poor families in our state that cannot afford adequate health care. Children that do not get proper health care will end up having health problems that get worse as time goes on.”

Photo Credit: Saul Young

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