Winston-Salem Journal Photo by Jennifer Rotenizer, of Alex Stovall (left) working with clinic patient Henry Byrd.

Winston-Salem Journal Photo by Jennifer Rotenizer, of Alex Stovall (left) working with clinic patient Henry Byrd.

Last week, we interviewed Alex Stovall, a Kate B. Reynolds Schweitzer Fellow with a unique story:  after some mid-career soul-searching, he went from successful production manager to service-oriented physical therapy student.

Stovall — and the volunteer-run physical therapy clinic he has put in place with the support of the Schweitzer Fellowship, the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust, and Winston-Salem State University — were the subject of a front-page story in yesterday’s Winston-Salem Journal.

About Stovall’s clientele:

The people [Stovall] sees at the center’s physical therapy clinic are desperate for relief.

In many cases, their injuries have left them unable to work. They might have received primary care but no physical therapy. Without physical therapy, one ache led to other aches. Eventually, some of them have become so debilitated that they can barely walk or lift their arms.

Stovall on his decision to make a mid-career U-turn:

A few years ago, Stovall was on track for a long career in management at Pepsi Bottling Ventures. Stovall, a native of Harlem, worked there for six years, eventually becoming a production supervisor.

“I had a good career path set for me,” Stovall said. “At some point, I looked at the people on top of the food chain and looked at where I could be and I thought, ‘Am I going to be happy doing that?’ It was a great job, but ultimately, the biggest thing for me was that sense of personal satisfaction. It was what it was — making sodas. That wasn’t enough for me.”

Stovall on the appeal of becoming a physical therapist:

“It was clear that it was more than a job,” Stovall said. “When you can help people with their pain or help them walk and improve their quality of life, that’s a big thing.”

One of Stovall’s patients, Janae Boston, on the impact the care she’s received at the clinic has had on her life:

“When I first got sick, I thought of all kinds of things, like I didn’t want to live,” she said. “Without this place, I don’t know where a lot of people like me would be. This place was a lifesaver.”

Read the full Winston-Salem Journal feature here.

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