For Luke Schneider, military veteran, former firefighter and founder of Fire Department Coffee, the mission of his coffee company goes deeper than just a great cup of joe.

When a prospective pharmacy student tells Dr. Heidi Olson that they’ve never thought about pharmacy as a career before, the director of the RPHARM program at the University of Illinois College of Medicine doesn’t take it personally. She’s been there herself.

Whether it’s prescribing antibiotics for an infection, drugs to ease pain after surgical procedures, lifesaving insulin for diabetes or being a health-care provider for a rural community, rural pharmacists have always filled a unique role in the medical community.