Tonight (Thursday, July 30) from 5-7 p.m. residents of Ringgold County have the opportunity to meet the newest additions to the staff of
Mount Ayr Medical Clinic - Nicole Wilson, D.O. and Brad Wilson, D.O. - in the lobby at the Ringgold County Hospital.
No stranger to many area residents,
Brad Wilson grew up on the farm of his parents, Lisa (Wilson) Elmer and the late Fred Wilson, near Clearfield and graduated in 2003 from Mount Ayr
Community High School. Brad's wife Nichole comes from the Chicago suburbs. The country boy and the city girl first met as members of the University of Iowa
Pre-Med Club on a mission trip in Costa Rica and Nicaragua in late 2004/early 2005.
Following graduation from Iowa, they attended medical school at the
Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine on the campus of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia.
"I wanted to stay in Iowa and go to school, but he
wanted to go out there," said Nichole. "They have a big rural health and underserved community focus at that medical school so they do a lot of mission
trips to volunteer in the Appalachian area. We really liked that they focus your education on primary care to the underserved."
Despite leaving the state
for med school, both the Wilsons planned to return to Iowa. They completed their family medicine residency at Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines during which
time they also had the opportunity to work with Dr. Bruce Ricker and Dr. Jerald Phipps at the Ringgold County Hospital and Dr. Dwain Crain in his private
practice in Mount Ayr. Brad credits Crain as being one of the first ones to encourage him to go into medicine in the first place.
Another close connection to
Ringgold County Hospital is the fact that Fred Wilson was a trustee on the new hospital board when the new facility was built.
"I love walking by that sign
and seeing his name on there," said Nichole. "You feel a part of something he helped create. He was so passionate about it, and he was so excited about
building the new hospital."
To say the least, hospital administrator Gordon Winkler is thrilled to have the Wilsons coming on staff. He cited a long list of
benefits to the hospital including their age, their desire to practice in Iowa, their experience with rural healthcare and their comfort level with technology.
"We just didn't want the opportunity for Brad and Nichole getting past us," he said.
From [a] medical standpoint, Brad looks forward to the variety of a rural
family [Page 4] practice.
"I did a rotation with Dr. Crain," he said, " and he was doing skin and sports medicine and just everything - you're just going to
be off and running." Plus, he added, he would not miss the traffic on I-235 in Des Moines in the least.
From a personal standpoint both Brad and Nichole
stressed their desire for small-town living.
"We have so many family and friends who live here," she said. "I look forward to knowing who our neighbors are
and going into the school and knowing who my kids' teachers are. I've seen them here in the clinic, and I've seen them at football games and around town. Brad
and I have grown up in different leadership roles and have been really involved in our schools and activities, so we look forward to being involved in
Brad added he looks forward to simple small-town friendliness.
"People in Des Moines would meet me and ask me, 'Why are you being nice
to me?'" he said. "I'd tell them where I'm from you have to be nice to everybody because they're your friends, they're your neighbors, they know where you live,
they know your parents. I look forward to getting back to that because there's an accountability factor there."
The Wilsons and their two daughters - Reagan,
4, and Adalynn, 1 - are settled into their new home and will begin seeing patients at the Mount Ayr Medical Clinic on Wednesday, August 5. Once they get their
feet on the ground, the Wilsons would like to expand into services not currently offered at the clinic.
Ringgold County, for one, it's the place called
home. For the other, it's a place to create a new home. And for both Brad and Nichole Wilson, it's a place not only to establish a career but also to
immerse themselves in the community and all it has to offer.
Photograph courtesy of Mount Ayr Record-News
Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, October of 2015