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Dr. Michael Childress (right) is retiring after running his one-man pediatric practice for 32 years.
PETER CIHELKA/THE FREE LANCE-STAR
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It was with much sadness that our family read about the retirement of Dr. Michael Childress, a pediatrician in Fredericksburg for the past 31 years ["For three decades, doc cared for area children," Aug. 26]. Always calm and reassuring in the face of emergencies, pleasant and cheerful to adults and children, Dr. Childress provided exceptional medical care and nurtured the development of thousands of local children. By genuinely listening, gently inquiring into their thoughts, and sharing stories of his own life, Dr. Childress established a true relationship with each child and earned the trust and respect of patients and their parents.
Dr. Childress personally returned calls and gave us test results, trusted our observations and analyses, stayed late in the office with our ill son, arranged hospital admissions, and came to the emergency room at 6:30 a.m. to treat our sick daughter. In 26 years, Dr. Childress never let us down. He was never was too busy to listen, explain, discuss, or to advocate for the welfare of every child.
We witnessed his generosity as he quietly volunteered to treat the most vulnerable in our community, taking on patients with no resources simply because they needed the care. As insurance companies provided greater obstacles and became dangerously intrusive in the medical care of his patients, Dr. Childress maintained a patient-oriented, solo practice that never cut corners.
It is a testament to his character that his staff remained so dedicated to him and were an integral part of his practice. His beloved nurse of 31 years, Sonya Brooks, offered a contagious smile, priceless advice, and deep compassion. Our three children adore and cherish her because she remembered all the details of their lives and made them feel special. Terri and the other office staff were always pleasant, helpful, and willing to meet the needs of each child.
We wish Dr. Childress every joy in his retirement. It has been one of the greatest blessings of our lives to have had him and his wonderful staff care for our children.
Bob and Deborah Bowler