County Doctor Goes Above and Beyond

Health, Home & Family, Hometown Heroes, People
on June 3, 2001

Dr. James Reid always seems to be nearby in time of need. He wraps sprained ankles at football games, treats injured victims at accident scenes, and makes house calls to hospice patients. For 37 years, Reids hands-on care has been a comfort toand lifesaver forthe people of Greenfield, Ill. (pop. 994).

I dont know how Id operate without him, says Dan Bowman, head football coach of Greenfield High Schools Tigers. When an athlete goes down, we let Doc make the decision. The kids call him Tiger Doc, not only because he is the team doctor, but hes a tremendous booster of the sport.

Three nights a week during high school football season, Reid volunteers as team doctor, tending knee injuries and bruises. Parents in the stands appreciate Reids sideline presence.

He takes care of anything right there, says Sherry Kinser, mother of the teams middle linebacker. I know hell call me down if he needs me.

Hes not just a doctor, says senior quarterback Adam Range. Hell do anything for the community. Hes on the library board; hes on the fire department.

Reid, 63, grew up in Carlinville, Ill., (pop. 5,960) 20 miles east of Greenfield. After graduating from the University of Illinois medical school, he moved to Greenfield to set up his practice and home.

Im a small-town boy, he says. I wanted to raise my children in a town where I was comfortable.

Each day, Reid sees 30 to 40 patients in his office. Some travel 50 miles because they know the doctor will be the one X-raying their bones, drawing the blood, and applying the stitches.

I think touch heals, Reid says. I make sure I touch my patients, not just my stethoscope.

Reid and his wife, Doris, are active in the community. Besides their involvement in church activities, they began Tiger Tromp, an annual 5K run in 1986, which alternately funds the towns library and homecoming celebration.

Reid also has been a fire department volunteer for 36 years, monitoring the safety of firefighters and filming them in action for training purposes. Six years ago, Reid joined the departments first response rescue team.

There was a need, Reid says. We get wrecks out here (on U.S. Highway 67). I triage and see who needs attention the most quickly.

Reid has inspired others to pursue health care professions. Three of his five daughters followed him into medicine as a physician, nurse, and physical therapist, and Randy Bishop, a local paramedic, credits his career to Reid.

I remember sitting at my parents kitchen table talking with him, Bishop recalls. Hes always been very supportive and encouraging.

In 1991, Reid was so appreciative of the hospice care his mother received in Carlinville that he volunteered as medical director of Greene County Blessings Hospice. His job extends beyond paperwork.

Ill examine patients and counsel the family what to expect, he says. When you live 15 miles into the country, sometimes its pretty scary.

Reids contributions to the community havent gone unnoticed. In 2000, he was a finalist for Country Doctor of the Year, an award bestowed annually by Staff Care Inc., a Dallas-based firm which honors the nations rural doctors. Reid secretly was nominated for the award for, among other things, resuscitating a man in a local grocery store by positioning a sweet potato under his headto open the tracheaand administering CPR.

You make do with what youve got, Reid explains. It worked, he adds. He came around by the time the ambulance got there.

David Faries, a Staff Care spokesman, says the award is evidence that county doctors like Reid arent an endangered species. Maybe not endangered, but extremely difficult to replace.

His shoes would be tough to fill in this community, says Greenfield Mayor Don Chapman.