Valentine’s Day 2000 was a day Chiropractor Gary Brodeur will always remember. It was the day he snipped the ribbon to officially open his office around the corner from Newport Creamery in Governor Francis Shopping Center. More importantly, it was the day that he proposed to his wife, Sherri.
The Beacon trumpeted the news – a ribbon cutting and marriage proposal – with the headline, “Chiropractor’s proposal bears Cupid’s blessing.” While representatives from the Chamber of Commerce and other officials had been told what was about to happen, Sherri had no idea, until Gary started talking about them and fished out a ring. She was so excited that she rushed up and hugged him before he had the chance to pop the question.
When she regained her composure, he dropped to one knee and formally proposed.
In a recent interview, Brodeur talked about how the years have flown by and now another big adjustment in his career and the lives of his family.
By the time Christmas vacation comes to an end, the youngest Brodeur, Matt, who is a student at John Brown Francis School, and his older sister, Mackenzie, a student at Aldrich, will be enrolled in Florida schools. As both Gary and his wife’s families live in The Villages, about an hour north of Orlando, Brodeur is moving his practice there.
“It was a tough decision to turn it [the practice] over in the prime of life,” Brodeur said.
Brodeur thinks he may have a few Rhode Island snowbirds as clients and he expects many will use his services. He said many Rhode Islanders frequent The Villages during the winter months, in addition to a significant number of retirees who now make it their home. The Villages, which is age restricted to 55 and older, has more than 56,000 households, according to the Villages’ website.
Florida will mean a fresh start for Brodeur and new schools for his kids, but also a new beginning for Sherri. She is a teacher’s assistant at Holliman School and will be graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design this year. She is working on a career as an illustrator of children’s books.
If what Brodeur did in Warwick is any indication, it won’t be long before he establishes a strong community bond. From the day he opened his Warwick office, Brodeur has been involved in the community, from the perspectives of his profession and the city.
He and his family have helped with numerous drives to collect food, toys or money for St. Peter Church, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Warwick, the House of Hope and other non-profits. With the help of patients, the practice has “adopted” families during the holidays and replenished food pantries.
A member of the Pilgrim Class of 1989, Brodeur left Warwick to study at the Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa.
He says when he came back, he had a fresh outlook on the goodness of the Warwick community. He said he was “embraced as a new business owner.” Also, since he was building a practice, he found he had time to spare.
“I had more time than money,” he recalls.
Brodeur set about building a network that he could see helping his clients as well as expanding his business and contacts. The network includes acupuncturists, massage therapists and nutritionists. He describes the effort as “nurturing relationships” and working together with like-minded people.
Brodeur has also been a leader in electronic records. He started the system in 2005 where patient records, including x-rays, are kept on a secure database. Patients are provided cards that they swipe on arriving at the office, recording their visit and enabling Brodeur to update and access their medical history.
As Brodeur will make a fresh start in Florida, Chiropractor Robert Grace will take over here.
Grace, of North Scituate, is leaving his practice in Middletown. He is a graduate of LaSalle, Roger Williams University and the Palmer College campus in Port Orange, Fla. He has been a chiropractor for more than five years, the last two in Rhode Island.