A T-shirt with a picture of the federal penitentiary and a caption that read “Welcome to Leavenworth…a Gated Community,” was my first encounter with this amazing town and its people. Born and raised 10 miles north of Atlanta, GA and after spending 4 years in Memphis, TN, I assumed that I would spend the rest of my life in the South and never imagined that theMidwestwould be my new home. But after surviving my first “real” winter and my first season as a Kansas City Chiefs fan I’m starting to see why this part of the country holds a place in the hearts of so many.
I was born in Kennesaw,GA (just north of Atlanta) where I lived through my high school years. I am the only child of two school teachers, so good grades and hard work were part of my life at an early age. I have been playing basketball since I was 4 years old and was able to earn an athletic scholarship at Berry College in North Georgiawhere I earned my undergraduate degree in Business Management in 2005. While wrapping up my education, I starting looking for jobs and sending out my resume and realized that I did not like the impersonal aspects of the jobs I was applying for. I wanted to have more interaction with people and knew that I had to seriously re-evaluate my plan.
After spending some time with several people in different professions, a good family friend (who happens to be an optometrist) invited me to shadow him for a few weeks to see what I thought. After watching his one-on-one interactions with numerous patients I fell in love with optometry and knew what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
My second optometry school interview was in Memphis, TN at the Southern College of Optometry where I was stunned by the clinic and the faculty and was ready to spend the next four years there. During orientation I met a third year student and was head over heels in a matter of weeks. After dating for a couple of years we got married in May of 2010.
As my life seemed to be shaping up the way I wanted it my new wife, Dr. Ashley Reddell, threw me a curveball. She had found a job opportunity in Leavenworth, KS with a couple of doctors named “Norris and Kelly” and she claimed that it was one of the most amazing practices she had ever visited. Not really thinking that we would ever end up in Kansas I agreed to humor her and take a visit to this “military town with all the prisons.” I quickly realized that it was so much more.
After spending only 24 hours in Leavenworth and meeting a handful of the residents I knew that we had found our home. My wife began at the new Family EyeCare Center in the summer of 2010 and to our amazement I was approached that November with an opportunity to join the practice with an emphasis in geriatric and low vision care. I look forward to getting started this summer and becoming a part of the Leavenworth/Lansing communities.