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Nov 05, 2014

How I ended up in Florida (this one’s for you, Todd Tullis)…

At the end of my college swimming career at Kentucky I had to decide what I wanted to do. Graduate school? Find a job? I wanted to go into healthcare, but wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. There’s a longer story involved here, but I ended up going to chiropractic school at Logan College of Chiropractic, just outside of St. Louis. I moved there in May 2000 and started school.

With about a year left in school I had decided I was entirely sick of cold weather. I had lived in Wisconsin during my younger years, which was cold. St. Louis was no better at times with ice storms and cold weather. So I started looking for places that I thought I would like to live. San Diego came up, as did Santa Fe. Portland came up, but that was more for Oregon’s scope of practice than anything else. I was looking for a nice, warm area. I was open to pretty much anything that didn’t involve snow.

During my last year in school I became interested in Active Release Techniques, a patented myofascial release technique used by athletes at all levels, as well as people performing repetitious-type job functions (typing, assembly line stuff, etc.). Logan College was one of the few chiropractic schools that offered Active Release as an elective. I jumped at the opportunity. I was then fortunate to attend a seminar in Active Release that was offered in St. Louis. During the seminar a man stoop up and said he was looking for an associate for his practic in Florida, and to come speak with him if anyone was interested. I was interested, and spoke with him at the next break.

The man’s name was Gordon Rodetsky. He had two offices in Florida and was looking for an associate to run one of the offices for 5 years, with the option to buy that practice at the end of the 5 year contract. I had no capital to start a business, nor any knowledge of how to run a small business. His offer seemed like a good idea. Gordon and I spoke on the phone a few days later. I decided to check out the area where he lived. A few months later we had a signed contract. On a side note, Florida did not accept the National Board test at that time, they had their own state board test for licensure. I had no back up plan if I didn’t pass the test. I did end up passing the test, and loaded up my car to move to Florida from St. Louis on June 26, 2004. I started practicing in Florida on July 1, 2004.

On August 13, 2004, Hurricane Charley came through Port Charlotte and destroyed my office. It was a mess, but I was fortunate that Gordon had another office in Punta Gorda where we could practice. Gordon was diagnosed with a primary bone cancer, multiple myeloma, in early 2005. He had to stop practicing. So I inherited a busy practice after about 9 months of being in Florida. It was stressful, but Gordon was a great mentor. He taught me how to run a practice. He helped me become a better chiropractor and person. Due to Gordon’s health, he asked me if I would like to buy out the practice sooner than we had anticipated. I said yes, and I purchased my half of the practice on July 1, 2007. Gordon fought the good fight, but passed away in the fall of 2007. I’ll never forget Gordon and all he taught me. I wonder often if he’s proud of me. I guess I’ll never know, but I think about him often and miss him terribly.

So here I am 10 years later. 10 years older. There’s been a lot of ups and downs, both personally and professionally. But I’m still here. I’ll consider myself fortunate if I can say that 10 years from now. I’m not sure if this was a story of how I got to Florida, or an ode to Gordon Rodetsky. I guess it’s a little of both…

And with that, I wish everyone out there a safe and healthy week.

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Hengel Family Chiropractic

701 JC Center Court, Unit 16
Port Charlotte, FL 33954




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Gregory Hengel,
Jr., Doctor of Chiropractic
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