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SHS ALUMNI RETURNS TO WESTERN KS

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“Being back in a small town is the single most enjoyable thing so far.  The city it not as much fun as what it’s made out to be, at least once you have kids!"  

Thomas Eddy DPM, son of Kent and Melanie Eddy, has returned to western Kansas, living in Goodland. The Syracuse High School class of 2000 alumni is now a husband, a father of two, and a physician. 
After graduation, Thomas attended Northwestern Oklahoma State University in Alva. At the start of his sophomore year, he switched majors to biology to pursue a degree in premedical studies. It was there he met a girl named Tiffany, who he eventually convinced to marry him. 
After graduation, he returned to Syracuse, teaching anatomy, biology and physics for the 2006-2007 school year. He was a part of the high school football coaching team with head coach Chris Pollart, assistant Marty Lehman. “This was a year when I got my ducks in a row for medical school and tried to decide what kind of medicine I wanted to pursue.”
When looking at fields to choose, he talked about it with a relative who was a physician, who directed him to read studies regarding physician happiness. Studies found the happiest doctors in medicine with the least burnout were usually doctors in niche specialties. It allowed them to see some patients in clinic, perform some conservative as well as surgical treatments, while having relatively few calls into the hospital in the middle of the night. 
Examples of these niche specialties were ophthalmology, urology, ENT, maxillofacial, and podiatry. He chose podiatry because it was intriguing. Many specialties are not declared or matched until after medical school, or sometimes after residency while applying to fellowships. 
But podiatry had a clear-cut path.
He shadowed doctors in several different specialties. But when he shadowed a group of seemingly happy podiatrists, his decision was solidified. “After seeing for myself that people truly were happier, I made up my mind and the rest is history,” said Thomas. 
He graduated from the Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science in North Chicago, IL. In 2011, he completed his residency in Salt Lake City, Utah, and married Tiffany in 2014. 
For two years, he practiced in Missouri before returning to Salt Lake City to private practice. In addition, he taught residents as an attending at the residency. “My wife is a US Navy Chaplain, and I was able to talk her into going into the reserves. She joined me in Salt Lake City after being forward deployed for two years in Japan aboard the USS Green Bay.” 
Their family has grown by two since then, a girl, Trinity, four years old and 18-month-old son, Titus. “These two were some of the reasons we started thinking about moving closer to family. We decided that if we wanted our children to have a relationship with our parents like the relationships we had with our grandparents, we had to be closer than a twelve-hour drive to Syracuse, or sixteen hours to Oklahoma. 
A year ago, they began a trip home at Christmas during a bad snowstorm in the Rockies. The 16-hour trip turned into a 22-hour trip to Alva. When they got home Thomas looked at his wife and said, “If we keep doing this, statistically, we are going to die!" 
After searching for a year, they settled in Goodland, “The bigger teaching hospitals just didn’t feel right. I wanted to be able to do everything I was trained to do, and Goodland had what we were looking for.” 
“Upon leaving Salt Lake City I had a close friend and colleague who stated that they would miss me. I was candid in my reply, that he would be the only doctor in Salt Lake to miss one podiatrist leaving. But that I believe that many people in western Kansas will notice one more podiatrist,” said Thomas. 
He now sees patients in the specialty clinic at Goodland Regional Hospital, and travels to their outreach clinic in Atwood, accepting all patients with foot or ankle problems. There has not been a podiatrist in recent years, and never one full time. 
One of his specialties is limb salvage. “When a diabetic gets an infection, it may cause them to lose their leg,” explained Thomas. “I specialize in helping the patient to minimize that, from wound care to limb salvage surgery, and even reconstruction.” 
He is proud to be part of a program where they support his level of expertise, “The hospital has purchased equipment I need and are committed to give me the tools to help my patients. If I don’t have the tools, I can refer the patient at this time, but I hate to do that.”  
After growing up on a farm, Eddy is excited to once again be back in a farming community and to serve the people of western Kansas. “Growing up here I had a great childhood and can only hope to give my children a similar experience of growing up in a small town.”
His wife is still serving in the reserves as the Chaplin for the 23rd Marine regiment out of San Bruno, California. “She is gone one weekend a month, two weeks a year, but that time commitment is not exactly how it works, it requires more than that,” he added. 
“Being back in a small town is the single most enjoyable thing so far, the city it not as much fun as what it’s made out to be, at least once you have kids! It’s a lot easier to feed them at home,” said Thomas. We will miss our spur of the moment hikes in the mountains, but we traded it for spur of the moment trips to visit family close by.”  
When he visits Syracuse, he feels things are still the same, “Sure you have a Dollar General instead of Duckwalls, the Pizzeria is owned by a different person, but they still make great pizza. And there is Porky’s! When I walk into the donut shop, John still smiles at me and asks how I am.”  
I remember when I coached football in Syracuse, one kid was really excited to travel to Beaver, Oklahoma. “As a coach I was not excited because I knew they had a good football team, so I asked the kid why he was excited, and he told me he had never been out of the state before!” 
He now has gotten to hang out with Marty Lehman who was an assistant coach that year, who also now lives in Goodland. “He came over for the Super Bowl and I got to meet his family. His kids at that time were close to the same age as mine now. Now his girls are in college, it’s crazy!” 
 “I hope kids don’t think they can never leave a small town; I hope they know they can leave but always come back. He uses his Alma Mater, Northwest Oklahoma University as an example. “It is the cheapest, highest quality nursing school in the United States, out of the four-year state schools in the nation!” 
Thomas credits a good debt free education to NW Oklahoma, “It made student loans for medical school a lot more palatable!” Adding, “Do some research for opportunities for education after high school, even right up here in Goodland! A good education can be cheap. Many of my classmates went here and returned to Syracuse.”
When asked if there was one person who had the most impact on him?  He replied, “I purposefully danced around that question because a quote from Isaac Newton says, ‘If I have seen any further, it’s because I have stood on the shoulders of giants.’ I feel like everyone has influenced me.” 
“I could not have gotten where I am without all the science and math I took in high school. Of course all the sports gives you the background to help you strive through adversity because medical school is not easy. You are going to have to push yourself and sports taught me that, in addition to the course work in high school.Everyone is very formative in your younger years.” 
Thomas Eddy DPM is taking appointments for foot and ankle concerns by calling 785-728-4310.

 

 

 

 

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