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Small-town Minnesota physician named Country Doctor of the Year

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A doctor from the small west-central Minnesota town of Starbuck who used his life savings to build a local clinic was named 2013 Country Doctor of the Year by Staff Care, a healthcare staffing company.

Dr. Robert Bösl, 66, a highly decorated Vietnam war veteran and Sauk Centre native, moved to Starbuck in 1982. Bösl became the community's sole physician, making himself available for house calls 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

"My wife says you have to be a little bit crazy to practice in a small town," Bösl told USA TODAY. "If being a little bit crazy is one of the criteria, then I'm probably overqualified."

The newspaper reports Bösl knows nearly every family in town and has delivered babies of women he delivered as babies.

After the local hospital, the smallest in the state at the time, closed after years of losing money, Bösl took a loan on his house and he and his wife, Vicky, invested their retirement savings in a new clinic.

Every weekday at 5 a.m., Bösl makes the commute, a 40-mile roundtrip, to Stevens Community Medical Center in Morris to check on his patients and back to Starbuck to see patients at the clinic he founded.

Bösl's more than 30 years of round-the-clock service earns him the award, which comes with a temporary doctor provided by Staff Care to replace Bösl for two weeks while he takes a vacation.

The company has been giving out the awards annually since 1992 to physicians in communities with 30,000 or fewer residents, USA TODAY said.

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