Having a family practice physician in Grovetown is a blessing for many city residents.
For that physician, Dr. Timothy McKenzie, the practice is a godsend.
"The patient base that I have out here is genuine, hardworking, loving folks," McKenzie said. "I couldn't ask for a better place to practice medicine. Just the love that has been shown to me, I feel like I'm the one that has been blessed, more so than them."
McKenzie started the Grovetown practice nearly seven years ago after about 15 years practicing emergency medicine at smaller hospitals in southern Georgia.
But McKenzie said he was ready for a change and worked at his current office when it was operated by Doctors Hospital for 10 months. McKenzie took the hospital up on its offer to let him buy and operate the primary care practice.
"I couldn't have asked for a better opportunity," McKenzie said, adding that by that time his patients in the Grovetown office had become like family. "I feel like God really opened a door for me out here and wanted me here."
McKenzie said he enjoys primary care as much as emergency room work because "the variety out here never ceases to amaze me," but said he likes the continuity of care he can provide his patients as their primary caregiver.
For many of his patients, especially those who are unable to travel the five miles to the nearest doctor, his location in the city is a blessing.
"The convenience is wonderful," said Carolyn Quick, a secretary at Grove First Baptist Church, where many of the fellow church members urged her to see McKenzie about two years ago.
McKenzie said that because most of his patients are from Grovetown, Harlem and the surrounding rural areas, his office can be convenient for those unable to travel to Martinez or Evans for care.
Dr. Frank Thigpen, the pastor of Grove First Baptist Church, has seen McKenzie for nearly five years and said it is the Christian doctor's dedication to his patients that makes him so popular among them.
"He spends the time necessary with you as a patient to get to the problem, all the time necessary," Thigpen said. "He's not only a friend, I trust him as my doctor. ... He's the real deal."
McKenzie's practice is steadily growing, so much that he's purchased land on Harlem-Grovetown Road behind Boots, Bridles and Britches to build a new office. His current office, behind El Kiosko restaurant, is getting crowded, he said.
The success of the practice can be credited not just to him but also his staffers, who he said go above and beyond to help patients.
"It's not just me up here," McKenzie said. "Our whole purpose here is to glorify God in what we do. And I think the staff tries to communicate that."
McKenzie lives at his childhood home in National Hills with his wife, daughter and stepdaughter. When he's not in the office, McKenzie said, he can often be found working on that home, spending time with his family and enjoying outdoor activities, including camping and scuba diving.
When he is in the office, there's one thing McKenzie keeps handy: a smile.
"Life is short. You've got to laugh and have a good time going through it," he said. "We have a good time. We take our job seriously, but we try to enjoy ourselves while we do it. We all want to make this an enjoyable place to come, whether to work or as a patient.
"Life is too short to be sour."
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