Dr. J. Allen McElroy is a general surgeon with Marietta Memorial Hospital, but his service to the community isn't limited to the operating room or his office.
McElroy has served as Fort Frye Local Schools' district physician for a couple of years, receiving an annual salary of $1. He also works with the Washington County Sheriff's Office's Special Response Team (SRT) as a special deputy.
Question: How did you start serving as the district physician for Fort Frye Local Schools?
Answer: I've given some talks at the schools for different health fairs and things like that, and one of the school nurses asked me if I'd be willing to serve as the district physician, and I said I'd be happy to. It's just a way to give back.
Q: What are your duties as the district physician?
A: Basically if one of the nurses has a question they call and ask me, and if there's any health policies ... any health-related issues, they'll confer with me about that.
Dr. J. Allen McElroy
Family: Wife, Beth; five children, ages 15, 13, 11, 10 and 3.
Occupation: General surgeon.
Service: District physician for Fort Frye Local Schools, Washington County Sheriff's volunteer special deputy.
Q: Why do you only charge $1 for your services?
A: I wouldn't charge a thing, but ... they have to, I guess, technically pay me. I would do it for free. I'm just happy to do it.
Q: I understand you also provide free physicals for students playing sports and participating in band. When did you start doing that, and why?
A: I have kids that go to Fort Frye who also need physicals, and then I had a lot of parents who would ask me to see their kids in the office for physicals. So I just started to inquire who did physicals for the kids in the Fort Frye school district. ... Really no one did it for free. ... So I volunteered this year to do that. ... It's just a way to interact with the community and a service you can provide.
As a physician, I feel like it's our duty to use the skills that we've been given and developed to give back to benefit people. I also volunteer as a special deputy with the sheriff's office for the same reason. ... There are very few people that have the skills a physician has, and I feel that we should use them in a responsible way.
Q: Tell me about your work as a special deputy.
A: That's something I've done for probably close to three years. And basically that began through a casual conversation with a friend of mine with the sheriff's department at the soccer field, where I suggested they should have a trauma-trained physician as part of the SRT, in somewhat a joking manner. He called me back and said he had brought that up to the sheriff (Larry Mincks) and he thought it was a good idea. I met with the sheriff, and I've been working with the SRT team since that time.
Again it's a way to give back to the community. These guys who put their lives on the line every day for us as citizens, I believe that they deserve every opportunity for their jobs to be as safe as possible and go home to see their families every night.
Q: Have you been to any incidents with the sheriff's office? What's the most unusual or surprising thing you've encountered?
A: I've done some call outs with them. It's probably a small enough community that I'd be remiss to talk about it really. ... I train with them on a regular basis. I qualify with the same weapons they qualify with. They're a great group of guys. I really appreciate what they do for us.
Evan Bevins conducted this interview.