CROSSVILLE– Dr. Paul Protz concerned Crossville in December 1970 to substitute Dr. W.D. Watts at what is now Crossville Chiropractic Health Center.
What Protz and his wife, Imogene, believed would be a short-lived position became long-term, causing 50 years of dedication and service to Crossville and Sand Mountain.
In December, Protz's household and staff collected to celebrate his 50th anniversary at his office 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 participating in Palmer College of Chiropractic. They finished together and relocated to Montgomery.
A call from a pal and fellow chiropractic specialist in Rainsville changed the course of Protz's life.
“He stated Dr. Watts needed somebody to take control of his workplace for a while, since he ‘d had a stroke and he remained in the health center in Birmingham,” Protz said.
“I said sure, we'll come up. Therefore we showed up and didn't fulfill anybody but Mike Watts. We moved into the house [provided by Watts] That was on a Sunday, and I started practice the next day [in December of 1970]
“I didn't know the length of time I ‘d be here. Momentarily up until he recovered from his stroke. Well, he left the hospital and he was paralyzed in his ideal arm, so that ended his practice.
“He asked me if I would take over and I did, and he was excellent to us, like his own kids. I worked and he paid me. I paid no expenses at all. I made half the cash and he took half. We resided in his home, he fed us, he paid whatever. He was actually great to us, him and his better half.”
Besides being a chiropractor, Watts served the town as a council member and mayor throughout his life time.
Protz recalled how Watts assisted with the purchase of his very first new vehicle.
“After about six months, he took me to Pollock Motor Company,” Protz said. “He said I needed a brand-new cars and truck. He said you're going to buy this car. I didn't even choose it out– he selected it out.
“We drove it home and Imogene saw it, and she mored than happy with it. I still have that vehicle. It was a '71 Buick Skylark, and it still runs. Initially brand-new car I ever had.”
The Protzes weren't sure if they wished to remain in Crossville during the early days of Paul's practice.
“You had to know those individuals back then,” Protz said. “They were extremely protective of their community, who can be found in and who didn't. Here I was a Northerner, not to mentioned a chiropractor.
“The very first fellow I met was James Gaines, the chief of police. He can be found in and took me all over town. He presented me to R.P. Harris. We entered into the fire station here and met William Swofford, Richard Wiggins, Richard Harbour and Prentice Roden. They accepted me real well, and we got to be real 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 patients because 1972.
“One of the first families I satisfied was the Gilbreath family,” he said. “The Gilbreaths, the Chumleys … Liz Wheatley, her mommy which lot. They really supported me back then.
“It truly was difficult back then. Individuals would bring me things to consume from the garden, just all kind of things. People were actually gracious to me.
“I've had patients and I still have them today that come from as far as Trenton, Georgia. I've got some excellent, dedicated patients. They come from all over.
“I've enjoyed my time here. That's why I'm still practicing. I've taken pleasure in helping individuals.”
Protz's mom motivated him to pursue a profession as a chiropractic specialist.
“My mom hurt her back and it was during Christmas, and she needed to go to the health center,” he stated. “And when she went out, she wasn't any better. She went to a chiropractic doctor and he got her corrected. I didn't understand what I wanted to do in fact, and she suggested I do that.”
Two of the Protz's children, son 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 sons Everette and Nathan.
“My better half is also a chiropractic specialist,” Protz said. “She didn't practice here at all with me. She did practice some up in Stevenson after my brother, who was a chiropractic practitioner, passed away. Often she doesn't get the recognition that she needs to get.
“We've tried to serve our community too. I served two terms on the city board. My other half assisted me coach baseball, just she and I, for eight or 10 years. I had a great time.
“I had the Tigers. I had George Walker, and Mike Bobo played for me. We had a good group. In truth, we beat Skin [Johnston] one year for the champion, and one of my thrills of my life time was to beat Skin Johnston. He was a good male.”
Referred to as “Mr. Baseball,” Johnston founded the very first youth league in Crossville and later pioneered Dixie Youth Baseball across the state.
Judy Glenn and Vicky Trussell work for Protz. He considers the women as family members.
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 excellent people,” Protz stated. “I'm informing you, I couldn't ask for much better personnel than I have.
“But I will say this– I'm good to them. If you want to keep them, you much better be excellent to them.”