Celebrating Senior Citizens Day: August 21, 2014
Did you know that August 21 is Senior Citizen’s Day? It’s coming right up, so I thought I’d collect and share stories of seniors who have contributed to our community in some significant way. Often, the biggest contributors are behind the scenes, and it’s their work that speaks for them. Well, I’d like to shine a little spotlight on them.
I know some wonderful stories, and I’m betting you do, too. Please share! If you send me the name and a brief summary of why we should highlight a senior you know, it may inspire others to follow in their footsteps. I’m thinking of people who have contributed to our community by choosing a career that benefits all of us, like teaching, health care, or public safety. I’m also thinking of people who have been quietly volunteering for years, making sure local people get what they need, even when they can’t afford it. I’d also love to highlight people who have followed a passion and pulled others along with them to make our community a better place.
One person that comes to mind for me is the recently retired Dr. Don Coursey. After almost 40 years in practice, he just sent out a letter to his patients to let us know he’s retired. He took care of patients, their kids, and their grandkids—literally, thousands of people! He helped people with everything from allergies to cancer. For much of his career, he started his day early at the hospital checking in on patients who he’d performed surgery on, then went to the office and saw more than 20 patients, then went home for dinner with his family, after which he would read medical journals into the night. If he were on call, he would often receive middle-of-the-night phone calls asking him to rush to the Emergency Room to save someone who had been in an accident. I know many people who will miss his friendly demeanor and expert care.
When most of us go to the doctor’s office, we don’t think about the appointment from the doctor’s perspective. We go to our medical appointment, explain what’s wrong, and the doctor gives us a prescription or tells us what additional treatment we need. Most of us don’t think about all that goes into being a doctor, how hard it must be to tell someone they have cancer or that there is no treatment for their medical problem. We don’t think about how much information doctors are expected to know and continue to learn about. We don’t think about the fact that their day doesn’t end when office hours are over. So, thank you, Dr. Coursey, and thank you to all the doctors who have put in a lifetime of service to help people heal and live healthier lives.