CROSSVILLE– Dr. Paul Protz came to Crossville in December 1970 to fill in for Dr. W.D. Watts at what is now Crossville Chiropractic Health Center.
What Protz and his other half, Imogene, believed would be a momentary position ended up being irreversible, causing 50 years of commitment and service to Crossville and Sand Mountain.
In December, Protz's family and staff gathered to celebrate his 50th anniversary at his workplace at 14511 Alabama Highway 68, next door to Crossville Town Hall.
Paul Protz is from Pennsylvania while Imogene is from Kansas City, Kansas. They met while attending Palmer College of Chiropractic. They graduated together and relocated to Montgomery.
A call from a good friend and fellow chiropractor in Rainsville altered the course of Protz's life.
“He stated Dr. Watts needed someone to take over his office for a while, due to the fact that he ‘d had a stroke and he was in the healthcare facility in Birmingham,” Protz stated.
“I stated sure, we'll turn up. And so we showed up and didn't meet anybody however Mike Watts. We moved into your house [offered by Watts] That was on a Sunday, and I started practice the next day [in December of 1970]
“I didn't know how long I ‘d be here. Temporarily till he recuperated from his stroke. Well, he got out of the healthcare facility and he was disabled in his ideal arm, so that ended his practice.
“He asked me if I would take control of and I did, and he was very good to us, like his own kids. I worked and he paid me. I paid no expenditures at all. I made half the money and he took half. We lived in his home, he fed us, he paid whatever. He was really excellent to us, him and his partner.”
Besides being a chiropractor, Watts served the town as a council member and mayor throughout his life time.
Protz recalled how Watts helped with the purchase of his first brand-new cars and truck.
“After about six months, he took me to Pollock Motor Company,” Protz said. “He said I needed a brand-new vehicle. He said you're going to purchase this automobile. I didn't even choose it out– he chose it out.
“We drove it house and Imogene saw it, and she enjoyed with it. I still have that car. It was a '71 Buick Skylark, and it still runs. First new automobile I ever had.”
The Protzes weren't sure if they wanted to remain in Crossville throughout the early days of Paul's practice.
“You needed to know those people at that time,” Protz stated. “They were very protective of their neighborhood, who can be found in and who didn't. Here I was a Northerner, not to mentioned a chiropractic physician.
“The first fellow I fulfilled was James Gaines, the chief of authorities. He was available in and took me all over town. He presented me to R.P. Harris. We entered into the station house here and satisfied William Swofford, Richard Wiggins, Richard Harbour and Prentice Roden. They accepted me genuine well, and we got to be genuine good friends.
“It's been an excellent life here.”
Protz, who turned 72 in December, works three days a week. He's been dealing with a few of his clients considering that 1972.
“One of the very first families I fulfilled was the Gilbreath household,” he said. “The Gilbreaths, the Chumleys … Liz Wheatley, her mama which lot. They truly supported me at that time.
“It truly was difficult back then. Individuals would bring me things to consume from the garden, just all example. People were really thoughtful to me.
“I've had patients and I still have them today that originate from as far as Trenton, Georgia. I've got some great, dedicated patients. They originate from all over.
“I've enjoyed my time here. That's why I'm still practicing. I've enjoyed helping individuals.”
Protz's mom motivated him to pursue a career as a chiropractic physician.
“My mother injured her back and it was during Christmas, and she needed to go to the hospital,” he said. “And when she went out, she wasn't any better. She went to a chiropractic specialist and he got her straightened. I didn't know what I wished to do actually, and she suggested I do that.”
2 of the Protz's kids, boy Paul Jr. and child Tauret Burke, followed in their dad's footsteps. They practice at Protz Chiropractic Wellness Clinic in Sardis City.
Paul and Imogene's family also consists of children Everette and Nathan.
“My other half is also a chiropractic physician,” Protz stated. “She didn't practice here at all with me. She did practice some up in Stevenson after my sibling, who was a chiropractic physician, passed away. Often she does not get the acknowledgment that she requires to get.
“We've attempted to serve our community too. I served two terms on the city board. My partner helped me coach baseball, simply she and I, for 8 or 10 years. I had a great time.
“I had the Tigers. I had George Walker, and Mike Bobo bet me. We had an excellent group. In fact, we beat Skin [Johnston] one year for the champion, and among my delights of my lifetime was to beat Skin Johnston. He was a good man.”
Called “Mr. Baseball,” Johnston founded the first youth league in Crossville and later on originated Dixie Youth Baseball throughout the state.
Judy Glenn and Vicky Trussell work for Protz. He considers the ladies as member of the family.
Glenn has belonged to Protz's staff for 38 years. She's a former secretary of the year for the Alabama State Chiropractic Association.
“I've got two great individuals,” Protz said. “I'm informing you, I could not request for better personnel than I have.
“But I will state this– I'm great to them. If you want to keep them, you better be great to them.”