March 2023 ALT Magazine

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ALT magazine covering the ark-la-tex MARCH 2023 ALT-MAG.COM LOCAL HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONALS
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ALT Magazine | March 2023 For advertising information, call 903.334.9605 March 2023 / Volume 17 / Issue 3 LOCAL HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONALS 12 LOCAL RESCUES 43 44 46 FISH TALES (903) 334-9605 | 101 Slaton Dr. Nash, TX 75569 ALT Magazine is published the 1st business day of every month. Reproduction in whole or part without written permission of ALT Magazine is strictly prohibited. ALT Magazine is distributed free of charge. Direct mail subscriptions are available for $60.00 per year. Contributions from our readers are welcome. We reserve the right to edit or reject any material. Pinnacle Creative dba ALT Magazine COO / PUBLISHER Debbie Brower EDITOR Alyssa Jensen SALES & MARKETING Debbie Brower 903.334.9605 GRAPHIC DESIGN Alyssa Jensen PHOTOGRAPHY Debbie Brower FEATURED WRITER Anne Granado CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Debbie Brower, Mike Brower, Dustin Stringer,
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From the Publisher..

As the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted, the importance of healthcare professionals cannot be overstated. Their dedication, hard work, and expertise are critical in ensuring we stay healthy and safe. Texarkana is full of healthcare professionals who have developed a great desire to treat their patients physically and mentally, love them, and rejoice with them in healing. Today, we invite you to read about nine professionals from our Texarkana, USA, area, as we are proud of their individual and professional successes. Most of all, we are proud of the love, care, and attention to detail they provide their patients daily.

An ancient Greek physician, Hippocrates, once said, “Wherever the art of medicine is loved, there is also a love of humanity.” Thank you, healthcare professionals, for loving our community!

With spring in full effect, we often find it is an optimal time to begin traveling! Did you know that traveling has been associated with decreased heart disease risk, lower stress levels, and improved physical activity and well-being? I think those are reasons enough to sail the seas – precisely what I am doing at the beginning of March! Cruising to the Caribbean has always been on my “bucket list,” and I have the privilege of doing this with loved ones and friends this spring as we tour seven different places in the southern Caribbean. Stepping away from a busy work life is good for my mental health and something I highly encourage you to do!

Expressing gratitude is also associated with a host of mental and physical benefits. Today and always, I am thankful for my husband, Mike. While I am cruising, he is willingly caring for our fur babies, which provides much relief knowing they are in good hands. We also love to vacation together, which always increases marital happiness and joy! Take time today to cherish your family and friends. Express gratitude to those who mean the world to you. Stay healthy and strong.

May God bless your family with health beyond measure…

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Ermias Abebe, M.D. Orthopedic Surgeon

As a child growing up in Ethiopia, Dr. Ermias Abebe was exposed to many healthcare disparities, which led him to study medicine. During the civil war that erupted in the 90s, he saw many limb injuries and devastating deformities/ disabilities that came with some of those injuries. "Living through these experiences as a child, combined with my love for the show 'The Bionic Woman,' created my dream of being able to 'fix and rebuild people,'" Dr. Abebe says. "As I got older, this dream ultimately led me to discover and pursue the field of orthopedics."

Today, Dr. Abebe is an orthopedic surgeon at CHRISTUS Trinity Clinic, sub-specializing in foot and ankle surgery. "I have always loved working with my hands and fixing things. Each case, patient encounter, or surgery in my line of work requires compassion, thoughtfulness, and precision. I use my position, relationships, and expertise to help my patients receive the best possible outcome. Also, I have the best crew of nurses and an athletic trainer on my team, and together we work to provide excellent care to our community," Dr. Abebe says. "Along the way, I also try to mentor and inspire young people to pursue my field."

Dr. Abebe says that his best accomplishment is the life he has built with his wife, Dr. Loren Robinson, who is the Chief Medical Officer and Vice President for Medical Affairs at CHRISTUS St. Michael Hospital. The couple has two young sons. "One of my childhood goals was to marry my best friend and the woman of my dreams

and then become a father, and that has come true," Dr. Abebe says. "My wife inspires me. She works tirelessly to improve patient experience and hospital processes to ensure our hospital provides excellent and compassionate care. She also strives to improve the workplace for all healthcare workers so that they can deliver great care. My wife does all this while caring for her three boys and running our home. She makes it all look so easy; I pale in comparison."

In addition to his family, Dr. Abebe is also very proud to fulfill his parents' dreams and honor their sacrifices through his professional accomplishments. "As a parent myself, I appreciate that I cannot pay them for the lives they sacrificed to get me this far, but my plan, in the words of my favorite poet, is to show them that I understand," Dr. Abebe says.

Dr. Abebe's next goal is to stay fluent in his field's current concepts, techniques, and literature to provide the best level of care as medicine evolves. "I think life expectancy will continue to improve, and we will need to develop new ways to provide service and care for the problems that come with living beyond our 80s and 90s," Dr. Abebe says.

Dr. Abebe sees the practice of medicine as a very challenging career that requires a lifetime commitment to service and learning. "Healthcare workers often meet people at their most vulnerable, raw, and unfiltered time.

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Respecting these realities in order to summon our best humanity and keeping our minds focused on service daily for this task is a full-time mindset," Dr. Abebe says. "I think this is what makes a career in medicine a true calling and unlike any other job."

Dr. Abebe continues to be very touched by how much his patients care about his wellbeing. "Often, during their worst times, they are disproportionately focused on cheering my staff or me up and ensuring I am doing well. Although I cannot share what happened, I can share that I was touched by how generous and loving those patients are with acts of kindness. In those moments, most of us would be focused on our own situation, but my patients always stop to take care of me – the person whose job it is to provide the care," Dr. Abebe says. "Those acts of kindness provide a good reminder of how special this job is."

Fun Facts:

1. I am passionate about fainting goats and honey-do lists.

2. I am involved in the Texarkana community through my job, outreach, and building a formalized young male mentorship program with our local historically black fraternities.

3. My favorite place to eat in Texarkana is Fuji Kim's, and I always order the Iron Man roll.

4. The best tip I know for staying healthy is to be able to laugh at yourself.

5. Most people don't know I am an introvert masquerading as an extrovert. Also, aliens are real. The truth is out there.

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Adam Cox, O.D. Therapeutic Optometrist, Optometric Glaucoma Specialist

Dr. Adam Cox chose a career in optometry because he takes pride in helping people and increasing their quality of life. “I enjoy people, and it’s very rewarding to help people improve their vision and overall eye health,” Dr. Cox says. “Optometry also allows me to be a specialist in the health care community while owning a business and living and working in small-town America.”

Dr. Cox is happily married to his wife, Jennifer, and they have three children: Luke, 8; James, 4; and Olivia, 2. The family calls Atlanta, Texas, their home. Dr. Cox works daily to improve the community by providing superior eye care at one of the best optometry practices in Texas. “I work at one of the best optometry practices in the state of Texas. We constantly strive to ensure that Family Eye Care Clinic is the best and exceeds our patients’ expectations. Our practice will always stay on the cutting edge of technology with the latest instrumentation and continuing education for our doctors and staff.”

In 2022, Dr. Cox was proud to be named Young Optometrist of the Year by the Texas Optometry Association. “A healthcare career provides us with a license to learn more. Every difficult case is an opportunity to learn more

and better manage future patients,” Dr. Cox says. “It’s a fun job, and the more challenging the case, the better due to the great reward of finding a true solution for those complex patients.”

Dr. Cox believes that high-quality healthcare truly improves a patient’s quality of life because he knows that the better a person feels, the more they can accomplish. “Seeing patients on return visits that have significantly improved inspires me every day,” Dr. Cox says. “I continue to be driven to find the best solutions for my patients’ eye health needs and see their satisfaction once they notice improvement.”

In the future, Dr. Cox wants to continue to maintain and grow his practice by providing excellent care and individualized support. “Many healthcare professions, including my own, are moving toward a corporate model where the patient may come second,” Dr. Cox says. “I am blessed to own my own business where we can continue to put the patient’s needs first.”

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Fun Facts:

1. I am passionate about the outdoors.

2. I am involved in the Texarkana community by serving as the Atlanta Area Chamber of Commerce Chairman. I am active at my Atlanta Methodist Church and coach my son in baseball.

3. My best tip for staying healthy is, “Your wellbeing is directly related to what you put in the tank.”

4. If I could create a magical prescription drug, it would cure macular degeneration because being unable to read or see your grandchildren’s faces is depressing for my patients.

5. Most people don’t know that I am an Eagle Scout.

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Briley B. Hearn, O.D Optometrist

Dr. Briley B. Hearn knew from a young age that she wanted to be an optometrist. "Having worn glasses since I was in middle school, I was greatly inspired by my optometrist. He always made his patients feel so welcome and at ease,"

Dr. Hearn says. "I can still remember the moment I put on my glasses for the very first time. I was blown away by all I could see!"

As she grew up, Dr. Hearn always wanted to recreate that feeling for others. So, after graduating from Avery High School, she studied at Ouachita Baptist University and then attended optometry school at the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas. Now, she is an optometrist with ArkLaTexEyes in Texarkana and New Boston. "While I loved the hill country, I'm very excited to be back home!" Dr. Hearn says. "I love being able to give back to the community that raised me. Even after moving off, I have always considered Northeast Texas my home."

Through her work as an optometrist, Dr. Hearn can help and treat the people from her community by preserving their vision and managing ocular diseases. "Our clinics serve patients with a wide variety of needs, so my days are always interesting," Dr. Hearn says. "Working in our New Boston office is extra special to me since I was previously a patient of that office for years."

Dr. Hearn's proudest achievement is accomplishing the life goal she set in seventh

grade to become an optometrist. "If that little girl could see me now, she'd be so excited!"

Dr. Hearn says.

"Graduating from optometry school with honors and coming back to work in the very office I was inspired in as a kid is such an awesome, fullcircle feeling." Looking back, Dr. Hearn sees so many unrelated things that pushed her towards a career in optometry. "It's clear to me that God has orchestrated it all to put me in the position I am in today," Dr. Hearn says. "That is the biggest inspiration of all – knowing I'm doing what He wants me to do and striving every day to be the best example of Him I can."

Every day at work, Dr. Hearn's goal is to provide the best quality patient care possible. "From the moment their exam begins, I want my patients to feel welcome and at ease. Everyone should leave with an understanding of their health and be excited to come back," Dr. Hearn says. "I believe that this is an area that can constantly improve, and I am being very intentional to improve daily."

One of the biggest lessons that Dr. Hearn has learned is that she cannot know everything. When she first started seeing patients, Dr. Hearn says that she would be tough on herself if she could not pinpoint the exact cause of something she was seeing, no matter how rare or obscure it may have been. She felt like she had to have every single answer. "I've learned

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from more seasoned doctors that, even with 30-plus years of experience, there will be things I won't have the answer for. That's when we rely on the support of other professionals. By all the different healthcare fields working together, we are able to have each other's backs and provide the highest quality of patient care," Dr. Hearn says. "We have an entire network of professionals we can rely on who all have different specialties, and the healthcare system works together as a team."

Dr. Hearn believes that careers in healthcare, including optometry, are essential because they directly impact the health and well-being of our community. "Optometrists play a crucial role in diagnosing and managing eye conditions, preserving vision, and improving the quality of life for patients," Dr. Hearn says. "As a result, careers in healthcare have a significant and lasting impact on individuals and communities, and they offer the opportunity to make a meaningful difference in people's lives every day."

In the future, Dr. Hearn believes that healthcare will place a greater emphasis on preventative measures, early detection of conditions, and personalized treatment plans enabled by technological advancements. "Virtual and augmented reality will make patient education much more interactive and engaging," Dr. Hearn says. "All in all, I think the future is going to be all about giving patients more control over their health in a convenient and accessible way."

When she is not working, Dr. Hearn enjoys spending time with her husband, Dalton, who she married in 2020. "It's a very fitting anniversary for an optometrist!" Dr. Hearn says. "Dalton and I met while I was in college. He's an Arkansas guy who quickly converted me into a Razorback fan. We don't have any children or fur babies yet, and we are enjoying the freedom that comes with that! We spend our time traveling, supporting the Hogs, playing board games, seeing friends and family, and streaming too much Netflix."

Fun Facts:

1. I am involved in the Texarkana community through First Baptist Church of Texarkana and the Junior League of Texarkana.

2. My favorite place to eat in Texarkana is Texas Roadhouse, and I always order the ribeye and fill up on their delicious rolls.

3. The best tip I know for staying healthy is meal prep! Planning what you'll eat ahead of time helps you avoid unhealthy meals and keeps you on track for your health goals.

4. If I could create a magical prescription drug, it would cure Age-related Macular Degeneration because AMD can be very visually devastating and affects many people.

5. Most people don't know that I am a HUGE fan of Marvel.

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Russ Nelson Physical therapist, Athletic Trainer

Russ Nelson ran track and cross country in high school and college, and he always enjoyed being around sports, which led him to pursue a career in physical therapy and athletic training. "Professionally, I am inspired by patients working so hard to get better," Russ says. "The rehabilitation process is tough, but most of the time, the patients are tougher. Sometimes, we are trying to get a patient back to independent living, and sometimes we are trying to get an athlete back to sports."

Russ has noticed that many jobs have become increasingly automated over the years, but he does not foresee that happening with physical therapy. "Studies have shown how important the human touch can be in the rehab process," Russ says. "There will always be 'the new big thing,' but I don't think the gold-standard therapy will ever be automated."

Early on in his career, Russ says he took for granted that his job allowed him to help people. "Chris Karam, the former CEO at St. Michael, would tell us that we were blessed because in healthcare, we are invited into people's lives when they are at possibly their lowest, and that really rang true to me," Russ says. "I love the opportunity to help people, and I also believe I work with some of the best clinicians I have ever been around."

Now, even on the most challenging days at work, Russ is constantly motivated and inspired by being able to assist and support people on their journey back to full health. "I am given a front-row seat to watch while God heals people," Russ says. "It doesn't get much better than that."

Russ obtained a Sports Clinical Specialty in Physical Therapy and has been published in several journals. "Looking back on my professional career, these accomplishments make me proud," Russ says. "Personally, I am very proud of my kids' accomplishments. I am married to my best friend, Holly, a teacher at Trinity Christian School, and we have three great kids. Hannah is a physical therapist in Maumelle; Halah is in her second year of occupational therapy school at the University of Central Arkansas; and Rhett is a pole vaulter at the University of Arkansas."

In the future, Russ wants to focus on his kids and their future families. "I would like to be very involved with their lives. I want to be like some of my patients who host 'summer camp' at the grandparents," Russ says. "I know Holly will have them cooking, and I plan to have teaching sessions on the different track and field events."

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Fun Facts:

1. I am involved in the Texarkana community through running and occasionally participating in races where we push special needs kids in wheelchairs. I also play tennis in a local league.

2. My favorite place to eat in Texarkana is Pop's Place, and I always order the salad with the steak medallions. I also love their bread pudding. It is amazing.

3. I believe the best tip for staying healthy is moderation. I often see people with great intentions start a workout program. At first, they are very motivated, but they will often do too much too soon and either get injured or quit.

4. If I could invent a miracle drug, I would like to develop one for Alzheimer's because seeing someone lose their memory seems so unfair.

5. Most people don't know I keep bees and chickens in my backyard.

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Jimmy Owens Nurse Practitioner

Jimmy Owens grew up in Syracuse, New York, but he realized he wanted to pursue healthcare while working as a ski patroller in Colorado. "Part of the job was responding to medical calls on the mountain. We would hand off the patients at the bottom of the mountain to a small emergency room, and this experience sparked an interest in healthcare," Jimmy says. "I wanted to know the next level of care those patients received."

For Jimmy, the best part of his job is meeting various community members. "It is great to be able to develop relationships with our patients, help them when they are acutely ill, and assist them in staying healthy with preventative care," Jimmy says.

One memorable experience Jimmy had in his career occurred outside of the office and hospital. In fact, Jimmy was at the local pool with his wife, Susan, and two daughters, Sallis and Emma, the greatest accomplishments of his life. On this particular day, Jimmy was reading while his two girls swam. Next thing he knew, Jimmy heard a scream, looked over, and saw a lifeguard helping a young boy out of the pool. "I ran over, found the boy unresponsive, and began CPR. After several minutes, he began to respond. He was transferred to a children's hospital and, thankfully, was found to have no complications," Jimmy says. "We have stayed in touch with the family since the incident. They will stop by to say 'Hi,' and our kids play together a couple of times a year. It reminds me

what an impact we can have on the lives of those we care for."

Jimmy believes that careers in healthcare are important because it is universally needed, yet many people need access to it. "I believe that the continued advancements in science and technology will bring exciting changes to healthcare and how it is delivered," Jimmy says. "I am constantly inspired by the opportunity to help people live happy and healthy lives."

In the future, Jimmy wants to continue to spend time and have fun with his family and friends. As far as his professional goals, Jimmy hopes to maintain and grow his practice. "I will continue to provide quality, patient-focused care, build relationships with each of my patients, and stay current with best practices," Jimmy says.

Fun Facts:

1. I am passionate about my family, spending time outdoors, and music.

2. My favorite place to eat in Texarkana is Gusanos, and I always order pizza.

3. The best tip I know for staying healthy is to keep active.

4. If I could create a magical prescription drug, it would cure cancer because it affects many people.

5. Most people don't know that I played lacrosse.

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Pursuing a medical career has been a life-long dream for Dr. Beth Peterson. Today, she works as a general surgeon at Wadley Regional Medical Center, CHRISTUS St. Michael's, and Texarkana Surgery Center. She is also a partner at Collom and Carney Clinic and serves as Wadley's Vice Chief of Staff and Trauma Medical Director. "I have wanted to be a surgeon since I was four. I spent a month in the hospital and came away knowing that surgery is what I wanted to do," Dr. Peterson says. "I wanted to get to know people and make a difference in their lives just like the physicians and nurses who cared for me. I still get cards from one of the nurses who cared for me 34 years ago."

For Dr. Peterson, a healthcare career is not just a job or profession, especially in fields like surgery. "It can become your life," Dr. Peterson says. "The technical execution of precise surgeries and the beauty of anatomy drive me to keep up an often demanding schedule."

In the future of medicine, Dr. Peterson says that we will undoubtedly continue to see new technologies that make surgeries less invasive and more precise. "I think we will see an integration of advanced imaging technologies to surgical platforms to assist intraoperative decisionmaking and improve outcomes with quicker recovery times for patients," Dr. Peterson says. "I also hope we see changes across healthcare to decrease the high levels of moral injury in our teams. I hope that changes will refocus healthcare system priorities to more patient-centered goals and less on the business of medicine with its associated check-box metrics. I believe that the

future of healthcare is bright when it is led by patients and their physicians, not private equity. We need to ensure that medicine stays patient-focused so that our loved ones have the best care in the future."

The great lessons Dr. Peterson has learned as a surgeon came from being both a patient and a patient's family member. Her aunt was diagnosed with rectal cancer while Dr. Peterson worked on her residency. "She and my uncle had retired and were traveling in their motorhome when she began having problems. They came to visit me, and she was diagnosed a week later. Their travel plans had to be put on hold, and I got the privilege of them staying with me throughout her initial chemo radiation, surgery, and more chemotherapy," Dr. Peterson says. "I often treat rectal cancer, but living it from the family's side was an eye opening experience that helped me grow as a physician. I am elated to say that she is thirteen years disease free."

Looking back at her professional career thus far, Dr. Peterson is proud of becoming a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and developing a fulfilling practice providing cutting-edge care. As far as her personal life is concerned, Beth is proud of the horses she has raised with the help of her family. "We have a few born here and are now starting on successful competition careers," Dr. Peterson says. "I am not a big talker unless you get me talking about my horses."

Dr. Peterson's future goals include developing a local gastric stimulator program for patients suffering from gastroparesis, a condition where

028 ALT Magazine | March 2023

the stomach does not empty properly. This can lead to chronic nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain, which can be very debilitating. "We have high rates of gastroparesis in the Arklatex associated with the high incidence of diabetes here. Historically these gastroparesis patients have been treated medically with varying degrees of success. Now some patients who fail medical management are candidates for surgically placed gastric stimulators. Studies show that most of these patients significantly reduce their symptoms and that we also see improvements in cellular functions within the GI tract and in the brain over time," Dr. Peterson says. "It is a technology that I find very fascinating. We have completed the regulatory process for an approved gastric stimulator program and our initial implants. I hope to see this program grow and improve patients' lives."

No matter what the future holds, Dr. Peterson wants to continue to use her knowledge and expertise to better the lives of her patients and the people in this community. She says that the

best part of her job as a surgeon is that she can often change patients' lives for the better in a matter of days or weeks. "Getting to know my patients and becoming part of their journey is a blessing. The gratitude of my patients inspires me," Dr. Peterson says. "It never seems to fail that when I have a rough time, a patient or family member reminds me of the privilege it is to care for others."

Fun Facts:

1. I am passionate about HORSES!

2. My favorite place to eat in Texarkana is Los Ruvalcaba, and I always order enchiladas potosinas with steak.

3. The best tip for staying healthy is to develop a passion that keeps you active and spend at least 15 minutes daily tending to that love.

4. If I could create a magical prescription drug, it would cure hate because we need less division and more compassion for our fellow humans.

5. Most people don't know that I love to two-step.

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Gym, Dance & Cheer 500 Industrial Blvd. Nash, TX 75569 903.793.1234 Gymnastics, Dance And Cheer Classes For All Ages! Ballet | Tap | Jazz | Lyrical | Musical Theatre | Clogging | Hip Hop | Contemporary | Competitive Dance Teams CEA TRYOUTS APRIL 19TH 4-9 YEAR OLDS : 5-6PM 10 & UP : 6-7:30PM CHEER ELITE ALLSTARS

Tabitha Kristy Smith Senior Laser Technician

Tabitha Smith wanted to be a provider and senior laser technician with Eternal Beauty Medical Aesthetics Day Spa because she loves to serve others. For the last four years, her goal with every treatment has been to improve the self-esteem and health of each of her patients. “I am so proud of my position and that I have given multiple years of dedicated service to my patients—many are friends I adore,” Tabitha says. “I love helping people feel good about themselves and talking with so many interesting patients about travel and what is going on in their lives.”

Tabitha believes that it is vital for careers in healthcare to help people take care of their health and wellness, which includes how they look and feel. “In the future, I see the aesthetic side of healthcare evolving to help people feel better about their appearance, which in turn will help people take better care of their health,” Tabitha says. “As a provider, I am committed to serving the community with fair-priced laser hair removal, sun spot removal, and laser sclerotherapy with equipment made for all skin types.”

Another of Tabitha’s goals includes caring for her family with her husband, Kristopher Smith. “We have four amazing children ages 12-19,” Tabitha says. “I want to make a better future for them.”

Tabitha says the most significant lesson she has learned is that you never know what someone might be going through just by looking at the outside. “Every single person and the lessons they’ve learned are worth knowing and should be considered wisdom,” Tabitha says. “Also, when pursuing your dreams, never quit. Keep going—no matter how hard or how stressful.”

Fun Facts:

1. I am passionate about my family, community, and career.

2. My favorite place to eat in Texarkana is Benchmark, and I always order the blue goat salad.

3. Challenging your mind is the best tip I know for staying healthy.

4. If I could create a magical prescription drug, it would cure mental illness because it is a widespread problem that has a far reach within all communities.

5. Most people don’t know that I love reading and pop music.

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Dr. David Whitten is more than a physician. He is also a Ph.D. physiologist, cosmetic surgeon, weight loss specialist, and scientist. He and his wife, Susan, own and operate the Beauty and Wellness Center in Texarkana. They focus on helping patients improve their health and mindset and achieve greater joy and confidence through improving themselves. "I love seeing our patients feel better, look better, and have more spirit and confidence. For example, we have a very successful self-improvement and weightloss program. It is thrilling to see someone who has struggled unsuccessfully for years achieve goals they never thought possible," Dr. Whitten says. "We also do a lot of procedures and surgeries that restore a more youthful appearance, and I love to see smiles and expressions of happiness."

Dr. Whitten's journey into the medical field began when he was only thirteen years old. He was traveling with his dad, who got sick. "It was nighttime, and we were in a motel far from home. I was pretty worried, but the motel had a number for medical emergencies, and Dad called it," Dr. Whitten says. "A doctor came to the room pretty quickly, and immediately upon his entry, everything was better. I knew we were going to be okay, and I knew that I wanted to be able to help people like that. I wanted to make some type of difference."

For Dr. Whitten, healthcare professions are critical because they help people find a healthy balance that allows them to live life to the fullest. "Humans are fearfully and wonderfully made. The workings of the human organism are so complex, and the balance of the millions of interconnected mechanisms that allow a healthy existence is fragile. When that balance exists harmoniously, humans experience wellness and can achieve joy and happiness. When that balance is off in any way, our experience is not so good or terribly bad, often unto death and despair," Dr. Whitten says. "Healthcare professionals spend their careers helping finetune that balance, helping to understand the workings of the many interactive mechanisms underlying that balance, and working to allow more of us to experience the joy and happiness that comes with good health."

Since completing medical school, Dr. Whitten has achieved many academic milestones, including earning board certification. He credits his training and preparedness for successfully helping him resolve many life-or-death moments. However, Dr. Whitten's biggest and most difficult academic accomplishment was earning his Ph.D. at the University of California. The program was so rigorous that it made earning his M.D. "pale in comparison." In addition, Dr. Whitten has been recognized as a teacher, both academically at the University

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California–San Francisco and as a National Faculty in the American College of Emergency Physicians. Furthermore, he has written scholarly articles published in learned journals and published a book with his co-author, Martin Lipp, M.D. "To join the ranks of true research scientists and to be welcomed into the research fraternity was truly a high point," Dr. Whitten says. "My life has been blessed with many such moments."

However, Dr. Whitten says that his most important personal accomplishment is having such a beautiful family. "Susan is not just my wife. She is my business partner, surgical assistant, skin care specialist, and my very best friend," Dr. Whitten says. "I am also blessed with four children, two bonus children, and eight awesome grandchildren."

The couple is very proud of their family. Scott, Susan's younger son, lives with the couple, and Parker, Susan's older son, lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and often works with them. They also have David's children: Laura, Emily, Sarah, and David. Laura is an ER nurse living in San Francisco; Emily is living in Portland, Oregon, with her kids, Eva and April; Sarah is living in St. Louis with her twins, Jacob and Avalene (named after David's mom, who passed away at age 95 in 2021); and David Domingo Whitten, who lives with his wife Crystal and their "tribe" – Moses, Naomi, Judah, and Zion– in Texarkana. "There's nothing more important in life than having a supportive and loving family, without which no academic or professional accomplishment would have meaning," Dr. Whitten says.

Above all, Dr. Whitten wants to look back on his career and know that he made a difference and was able to live by faith and love. "My Christian faith and devotion to the teachings of Jesus is my foundation, and I owe everything I am to His influence in my life," Dr. Whitten says. "People inspire me. My family and wife inspire me. The desire to want to make a difference inspires and drives me."

Fun Facts:

1. I am passionate about my wife and my family. I am passionate about life! I love the Dallas Cowboys and the Texas Rangers. I love soccer, and I am passionate about wine.

2. I am largely involved in the Texarkana Community through my wife, Susan, and her involvement with HandsOn Texarkana and Runnin' WJ Ranch. She volunteers on our behalf in so many ways. She's a difference-maker by herself, but we are much more together. We have also been involved in Special Olympics, Temple Memorial, and many other nonprofits through participation in volunteering, silent auctions, etc.

3. My best tip for staying healthy is to eat real, nonprocessed food, stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water, and have at least one glass of wine a day.

4. If I could create a magical prescription drug, it would make people choose happiness because we are all healthier when we are happy.

5. Most people don't know I am very tender-hearted and kind. I wish they knew how much I love and adore my wife and that I am not just Dr. Whitten.

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Matt Young,

Chief Medical Officer, physician, Bowie County health authority

Dr. Matt Young has been practicing Emergency Medicine in East Texas for 25 years. Since studying and receiving his training at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock, Arkansas, Dr. Young earned his board certification in Emergency Medicine from the American College of Emergency Physicians. He is also a Fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians. In addition, Dr. Young is the Texarkana Emergency Center & Hospital Physician and Owner and is the Bowie County Health Authority. Dr. Young has served as the Medical Director of Emergency Services at both local hospitals, and he has been Medical Director for LifeNet, Inc. for more than a decade.

“I enjoy helping others in the neediest and most vulnerable time in their life – during an emergency,” Dr. Young says. “To be able to help your fellow man during that time and turn it into an outstanding experience is truly rewarding.”

Every day, Dr. Young sees various emergencies with patients of all ages. He treats everything from medical illness to traumatic injuries. “No matter what we face every day, it is always fulfilling when you have a part in saving a life and making a difference in a patient’s outcome,” Dr. Young says.

For Dr. Young, the best part of his business is that the whole staff enjoys being a part of the four states area and supporting the community. “We are always looking for new ways to serve the Texarkana community,” Dr. Young says. “We are local providers who choose to live, play, and pray in the same community we serve.”

Dr. Young was born and raised in Texarkana, and though he has many professional accolades, he counts his greatest accomplishments to be his Christian faith and the family he has with his wife, Cindy. “We have two sons, Logan and Garrett, and one sweet puppy, Simon,” Dr. Young says. “When I’m not working, I enjoy spending time with my family while enjoying the great outdoors, fishing, or being on the water.”

Looking to the future, Dr. Young hopes to continue to have a positive influence in both the medical field and also throughout the community. “I also want to continue to enhance my life through education and faith in religion to make me a better person for myself and those I am blessed to come in contact with,” Dr. Young says. “My advice for others is not to let those who may not believe in you or your goals sidetrack your success. Use these doubts as positive motivation. I’d like to say they never knew what I had in me, and I appreciate their challenge.”

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Fun Facts:

1. I am passionate about community involvement. We enjoy being involved in many aspects of our local communities.

2. My favorite place to eat in Texarkana is Zapata’s, and I always order a puffy taco.

3. The best tip I know for staying healthy is to realize that your health is not a sprint but a marathon. There will be ups and downs but stay positive and keep moving forward.

4. My idols are my mother and father. Anyone who can raise ten kids deserves respect.

5. Most people don’t know that swimming is my favorite form of exercise.


Women and Girls: 13 years and up!

Detective Tabitha Smith will be leading it as well as Police officers from multiple agencies in the area as well. Admission is FREE but will have raffles to raise money. Mats and dummies will be provided by Peak Fighting. There will be live music, BBQ, bake sale, and multiple raffles.

100% OF PROCEEDS WILL GO TO CASA AND THE CHILDREN’S ADVOCACY CENTER. Raising money to help the CASA building that has water damage that needs repair.

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LETS MAKE YOUR GOALS HAPPEN! (903) 796-5438 | 108 N Loop 59 | Atlanta, TX 75551 (870) 772-4328 | 2229 Trinity Blvd. | Texarkana, AR 71854 (870) 898-5700 | 1420 Constitution Ave. | Ashdown, AR 71822 (903) 832-5438 | 600 North Kings Hwy | Wake Village, TX 75501 (903) 628-0035 | 980 James Bowie Drive | New Boston, TX 75570 AMAZING LOCATIONS FOR EVERYONE!
25TH AT 11:00 AM. PARKING LOT OF ETERNAL BEAUTY 5510 Summerhill Road | Texarkana, TX

Drug Take Back Initiative Operation Medicine Cabinet

The Texarkana Arkansas Police Department is proud to partner with Texarkana Emergency Center in an effort to remove unused and out of date prescription medicines from your homes.

•It is important to know that law enforcement is only interested in the removal of unused and/or outdated medications from the homes of our citizens.

•It matters not whose name is on the prescription, by whom it was prescribed, where it was prescribed, or where you reside.

•We stress that it makes no difference if you live in Texas or Arkansas.

•We take back all medications, no questions asked. You can remove the label if you desire but it’s not necessary.

•We ask that you do not deposit needles (sharps), inhalers, medication from businesses or clinics, ointments, lotions, liquids, aerosol cans, hydrogen peroxide, or thermometers.

One box has been placed behind the Bi State Justice Building at 100 N. State Line Ave., Texarkana, Arkansas and another outside the Texarkana Emergency Center, 4646 Cowhorn Creek Rd., Texarkana, Texas. These boxes are regularly checked and the contents are immediately packaged for destruction. If you would like to personally drop your medications off to law enforcement, you can at the Miller County Sheriff’s Office on East Street and Bi State Justice Building in Texarkana.

National Take Back Day

APRIL 22, 2023

8am - 12pm at Texarkana Emergency Center & Hospital

You can learn more about this program by visiting or on Facebook by searching Arkansas Take Back or Arkansas Drug take Back.

4646 Cowhorn Creek | Texarkana, TX 75503 | 903.838.8000

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Keep these strategies and considerations in mind.

To ensure that tax liabilities aren’t deferred indefinitely, investors are obligated by the IRS to take required minimum distributions (RMDs) from most retirement accounts. For those born after June 30, 1949, RMDs begin at age 72; for those born earlier, RMDs begin at age 70½.

Volatile markets add a layer of complexity to taking these distributions, however. As the RMD amount is determined by the retirement account’s value at prior yearend as well as your life expectancy, a quick downturn in the stock market at the beginning of the year can cause a lot of stress for individuals who are then required to take a distribution – and who face a steep 50% penalty if they don’t.

It’s not a simple topic. However, there are a few considerations and strategies to bear in mind when thinking about your RMDs amid volatile market conditions.

If this is your first RMD, you have the option to delay

Normally, RMDs must be taken by December 31. However, your first RMD can be delayed until April 1 of the year after you reach the relevant RMD age (72 if you were born after June 30, 1949; 70½ if born earlier). Those extra months can provide a

bit of flexibility in timing, allowing for market conditions to potentially stabilize or improve before you take a withdrawal from the account in question.

However, keep in mind that if you delay your first RMD into the year after reaching your age trigger, you’ll still need to satisfy that year’s RMD before December 31 – meaning you’ll be taking two distributions within the same calendar year. This means more taxable income, which may push you into a higher marginal tax bracket or increase certain costs such as Medicare premiums. Bottom line: a bit of flexibility in timing can be a positive, but be sure you’ve thought through the tax implications.

If you’re still working, you may have the option to delay

If you’ve reached the age of taking RMDs but are still working, you may be able to defer taking the RMD from your current employer’s retirement account. The IRS generally allows your first RMD from an employer’s retirement plan – such as a 401(k), 403(b) or profit-sharing plan – to be taken by April 1 in the year after you retire, provided that your company allows you to delay past normal RMD age and you own less than 5% of the business.

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Much like the first RMD-delay option noted above, you’ll want to think through how taking two RMDs in the next calendar year might affect your tax situation.

Different accounts have different rules

If you have multiple individual retirement accounts (IRAs), you have the option to withdraw the total RMD amount owed for all of your IRAs from one or more of them, rather than taking out each RMD from its specific account. A similar rule applies with 403(b) accounts. However, RMDs from other types of retirement plans like 401(k) and 457(b) plans have to be taken separately from each account. Talk to your financial professional to determine where you have location flexibility and where you don’t.

Use cash, if available

If you’re already holding cash in an account you have to withdraw from, take advantage of it. Instead of selling investments at reduced values, simply request the cash out of the account to satisfy the RMD.

If there’s not enough cash, sell thoughtfully

Hopefully, you have an appropriate asset allocation that has a mix of asset types – including stocks and bonds – tailored to your individual risk tolerance. If that’s the case, you and your financial advisor can discuss which assets would be best to sell to satisfy the RMD amount, hopefully avoiding locking in losses on positions that have suffered the worst.

For the charitably minded, QCDs are an option

If you don’t need the income yourself and have a cause close to your heart, you can take a qualified charitable distribution (QCD), which allows you to donate up to $100,000 to charity from your IRA and have it count toward your RMD. This strategy won’t help if you need to sell investments to raise cash, but it will help on taxes, as the gift won’t be included in your taxable income (even though it fulfills your RMD).

If you don’t need the income, consider an inkind distribution

Another option if you don’t need the cash flow – an “in-kind distribution.” This involves requesting that securities in your IRA be transferred to your after-tax brokerage account – which is particularly beneficial if

you’re holding a position you don’t want to sell. This strategy doesn’t avoid taxes on the RMD, but it can help reduce transaction costs (since nothing is being sold or repurchased) while maintaining your position in the security at all times. Bear in mind that an in-kind IRA distribution will reset the cost basis of your holding.

Remember, you can reinvest

Regardless of which strategy you decide to use, keep in mind that you can choose to reinvest any money you withdrew to satisfy RMDs by moving it to an after-tax brokerage account. This can help provide an opportunity for that money to grow if markets recover. If you’re already happy with your specific holdings, however, consider the in-kind distribution strategy mentioned above.

Turn to a professional for tailored guidance

Everyone’s situation is unique, and there are nuanced strategies for satisfying RMDs that go beyond the approaches covered here. Your tax professional and financial advisor are the best sources for information that’s personalized to your specific situation and future goals.

Please note, changes in tax laws may occur at any time and could have a substantial impact upon each person’s situation.

© 2023 Raymond James Financial, Inc. All rights reserved. Raymond James & Associates, Inc., member New York Stock Exchange / SIPC, and Raymond James Financial Services, Inc., member FINRA / SIPC, are subsidiaries of Raymond James Financial, Inc.

Raymond James® and Raymond James Financial® are registered trademarks of Raymond James Financial, Inc.

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Suzie TK SnippeTS

Growing Up In The Twenties

2020 that is!

I recently wrote a short story titled “Growing Up In The Fifties” and thought it was the best time to be a teenager, and I still do. My parents were raised in the Roaring Twenties and thought their time, even with the depression, was the good old days! Well, we recently uncovered a picture of my mom in her teens, and her dress hemline was above the knee—a stark difference from the settlers of the old west with long dresses and petticoats.

Today, in 2023, we look at kids and think they are a lost generation, but ya know, I can remember that the adults in my day thought Elvis would bring us to ruin!

But…here we are, successful grandparents who feel the same way about our grandchildren and their music, even in church! Today’s generation was brought up by successful parents who indulge their offspring in what they did not have as youngsters. Every generation has been guilty of this. I can remember when Polaroid cameras came out with the phenomenon of instant pictures, but today, technology has overcome the world! If they dream it, they can invent it!

Kids today come out of the womb knowing about the Internet, “google,” and how to use a cell phone. I look back at my grandparents, who traveled in a horse and buggy, and think how awful - no cars with automatic drive, backup cameras, and air-conditioning - “What a Drag!”

Our great-grandchildren will look at us and wonder how we survived without computers, cell phones, and text messaging. They will ask, “You had to pay big bucks for long-distance calls?” Their kids in the future will look at them and wonder how they could have traveled without time capsules, and who knows what other innovations may be coming down the pipeline!

In 50 years, the next generation will look back at their growing-up years, think IT was the best, and marvel at our primitive vehicles compared to their space vehicles. Traveling to other planets may be as common as traveling to foreign countries.

We cannot lose sight of teaching each generation the importance of love, respect, honesty, the sanctity of life, and faithfulness in marriage.

We have our work cut out for us!

Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

042 ALT Magazine | March 2023 It’s not too late to give yourself the gift of homeownership this holiday season. I can help you assess your financial situation and guide you on the next steps towards getting into the home of your dreams. THE GIFT OF Homeownership © 2021 SWBC. All rights reserved. Loans are subject to credit and property approval. Other restrictions and conditions may apply. Programs and guidelines are subject to change without notice. Rates are subject to change daily. Corporate office located at 9311 San Pedro Avenue, Suite 100, San Antonio, TX 78216. SWBC Mortgage Corporation, NMLS #9741 ( 1060-A4314 01/21 JASON CREE Cell: 903.277.2726 Office: 903.223.5632 Branch Manager | Sr. Loan Officer NMLS #209270 | 3101 Kennedy Lane, Suite 200 Texarkana, TX 75503 Sunday Services, 10 am | PASTOR MICAH HARP CHRISTIAN WARRIORS CHURCH, 2101 E 50th St, Texarkana, AR 71854 Love God. Serve Others. Teach Truth. THESE ARE MY CHURCH CLOTHES join us. come as you are.

The action-packed adventure pits man against prehistoric predators in the ultimate battle for survival. Featuring visually stunning imagery and groundbreaking special effects, this epic film is sheer movie magic 65 million years in the making. Welcome…to Jurassic Park! Tickets can be purchased at

The Busted Knuckles Stunt Tour is coming to town! See some of the most daring stunts performed on Harley-Davidson motorcycles. Enjoy live music, food, and drinks.

Stunt Showtimes are 12 PM, 2 PM, 4 PM

Event to raise funds to assist local disabled and needy veterans. This event is planned to be held Saturday, March 11, 2023, at the Four States Fairgrounds. The public is encouraged and invited to attend. $15 ($8 for children 12 and under).

The Murphy’s Texarkana, TX, Boat, RV & Gun Show will be held on March 11th-12th, 2023, in Texarkana, TX. This Texarkana gun show is held at Texarkana Convention Center and hosted by Kerry Murphy Promotions. All federal and local firearm laws and ordinances must be obeyed. General Admission: $10.00, Children 11-15: $5.00, Children 10 & Under: Free. Military, Veteran, Police & Fire: $2.00 off

Breast Cancer Support Group With Kristi Jackson with Arkansas BreastCare. Monthly meetings at Oak Street Church. 401 Waterfall St. Texarkana, TX. Meetings are from 4pm -6pm with different speakers each month. Zoom Meetings available.

The Community Healthcore Foundation, through the Timothy Stewart Memorial for Suicide Prevention and Awareness invites you to become a Youth Mental Health First Aider.

Youth Mental Health First Aid is designed to teach parents, family members, caregivers, teachers, school staff, peers, neighbors, health and human services workers, and other caring citizens how to help an adolescent (age 12-18) who is experiencing a mental health or addictions challenge or is in crisis. Youth Mental Health First Aid is primarily designed for adults who regularly interact with young people.

The course introduces common mental health challenges for youth, reviews typical adolescent development, and teaches a 5-step action plan for how to help young people in both crisis and non-crisis situations. Topics covered include anxiety, depression, substance use, disorders in which psychosis may occur, disruptive behavior disorders (including AD/HD), and eating disorders. Join Community Healthcare at 1911 Galleria Oaks in Texarkana, Texas, from 8:30am-3:30pm.

This is the event that introduces the Texarkana area to local builders, remodelers, home and garden suppliers, and other industry related companies. Get inspiration and advice for your home improvement project! FREE to the public! Join the Texarkana Home Builders Association from 9am - 7pm @ Crossties Event Center in downtown Texarkana. Find more information at

We will be re-creating Historic Hair Styles. TMS Curator Jamie Simmons and Mrs. Bobbye Henry from the Arkansas Living History Association will be teaching how false hair pieces were made and how to wear them. Mrs. Henry is a Master Level Living History Performer. Join us at the Ace of Clubs House located at 420 Pine Street in Texarkana, Texas from 1-4pm.

Join First Baptist Church Texarkana for a time of worship with worldrenowned Christian artist, Chris Tomlin, LIVE in concert! Purchase tickets at

Fish Tales with Mike Brower

Shot Show 2023

Debbie and I went to the Shot Show in Las Vegas this year and were amazed at all the gun/hunting/military items being showcased. The show is HUGE, with over 70,000 people in attendance, taking up over 600,000 square feet of space at the Caesars Expo and the Venetian Expo. Debbie and I walked over five miles inside the show one day and right at five miles the next, and we still didn’t see everything.

I had no clue as to how many companies make AR15s as well as M16s and M4 Carbines. Companies from the U.S., Turkey, China, and South America made the same rifles and were exhibited. Some of the products were for military or LEO use only and could not be purchased by a mere dealer. My favorite was a Toyota pickup with a basemounted pair of Ma Deuces mounted in the bed, just like every truck in Syria and Iraq. We looked at a target system, and after talking to the rep for about 10 minutes, we found out it was for military use only.

The Venetian expo is so large we got lost and couldn’t find our way out, and any of the vendors we asked said, “We don’t know, we just follow everyone else.” We finally found a way out and got lost again on the next floor. I should have taken my GPS to keep from getting lost.

Last note -- if you go to Las Vegas, go to the “Mob Museum.” It is worth the time.

Local Rescues



PASSION FOR POOCHES (mostly small dogs)


TEXARKANA HUMANE SOCIETY TexarkanaHumaneSocietyInc For more info call 903-824-8117

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LUCYLOU Muttley Crew DUSTY JO & BRANDY Passion For Pooches GUNNER Boxer Rescue of Texarkana LUNA Texarkana Animal League
LUCKY Muttley Crew DOBBY Texarkana Animal League WILLOW Texarkana Humane Society

What a place to be...waking up in the mornings, overlooking the lake on SW Arkansas best kept secret, Beautiful Lake Erling. Privacy, seclusion, and serenity, all while watching the deer, turkey, and other wildlife in your own back yard. You are steps away from some of the South’s best fishing. These beautiful lots with lake frontage are limited and are beginning to sell quickly. This is a gated subdivision with limited access. Lakefront property is extremely hard to find and availability is very limited on this lake. B.A.S.S. ranked Lake Erling the top 100 lakes in the United States.

903.223.0710 1356 N. Kings Hwy. | Nash, TX 75569 | Bill Spradlin Realtor 903-748-3186 Tracy Spradlin Broker 903-748-2477 Jan Williams Realtor 903-277-5771 Pam Hollingsworth Realtor 903-277-1222 Amber McCormack Administrative Assistant 903-223-0710 John Trubia Realtor 817-701-8402 Now Servicing the Dallas Fort Worth Area! Candace Henry Property Manager Assistant 903-276-0971 Ronnie Olson Realtor 903-280-6831 Kasi Copeland Realtor 817-771-3635 Ashley Gross Property Manager Assistant 903-223-0712 Debbi Smallze Property Manager Assistant 903-223-0712