NOTE: THE FOLLOWING TEXT IS TAKEN FROM A SPEECH MADE BY DR.
BURNS ON MAY 19, 2019, AT THE GLMS PRESIDENTS’ CELEBRATION.
am honored and grateful that so many family members, friends
and colleagues were able to enjoy time together for the GLMS
Presidents’ Celebration set in the beautiful halls of the Speed
Art Museum. I was here a few weeks ago with my Leadership
Louisville class and was very impressed with the renovations, the
mix of modern architecture with the original building. I give a
resounding thank you to the GLMS Foundation and Louisville
City FC for financial support of the celebration. I also wish to thank
Bert Guinn, Glenda Klass, Amanda Edmondson, Aaron Burch,
McKenna Byerley, Onvia McDaniel, Kate Williams and all of the
GLMS staff for their constant efforts on our behalf.
As for my family members: I want to thank my daughter Meghan,
who is an attorney in D.C. She is helping people that otherwise
would not have legal representation via her work with Maryland
Legal Aid. I am very proud of her and what she has accomplished.
My son, Chris, is here with his girlfriend Leah. Chris has established
himself as a very successful personal stylist at Rodes for Him and
for Her, a staple in the Louisville business community for over 100
years. He has actually personally styled his father over the last year
and a half, to the point now that my wife has asked me to please
stop going to Rodes and buying clothes! I must admit, however, my
son has made me a much better-dressed person than I used to be.
That brings me to my wife, Carolyn. Carolyn and I came to
Louisville in 1986 from Columbia, Mo. We met and were married
while still in medical school at Mizzou. When we came here, Carolyn
had matched in the Urology program at UofL. I had already told her
that she would not like surgery, but she insisted she would. So, after
four months of every other night call at the University Hospital, she
came to me and said that she wanted to “change her path” and to
switch to pathology. I didn’t say “I told you so” (well, maybe I did).
But I totally supported her decision, and I was glad that she made
the change because I don’t think we would have ever had a family.
We wouldn’t have seen each other enough to conceive children!
We didn’t think we would stay here when we finished our residen-
cies. The job market for pathology and ophthalmology in Louisville
was fairly slim at the time. However, after she rotated with Drs. Bob
Howell, Lynn Ogden, Frank Serratoni and Larry Boram at Jewish
Hospital, Bob Howell mentioned he was retiring and asked that she
apply for the position. She didn’t believe they would hire her given
an older male pathologist (in a different practice in the city) told
her they would never hire a “girl” for the Jewish Hospital practice.
Well, that gentleman was wrong. They had found a real gem. We
committed to Louisville.
I joined Dr. Sheldon Schiller in his ophthalmology practice in
1992. Subsequently, circumstances occurred which prompted me
to set a new course: solo private practice in 1996. At the time, I was
told by another ophthalmologist I would never be able to set up my
own practice; it would be too expensive and too difficult to attract
enough patients to make it successful. With Carolyn’s moral and
financial support, I was able to establish a successful thriving solo
practice. Thank you honey; I love you for everything that you have
done for me. It was the best decision I ever made, and I have the proof
with the thousands of patients that I have taken care of since that
time. I have been honored to play a role in their care these 23 years.
Before making additional “inaugural” remarks, I would be remiss
if I did not also recognize and thank members of my office staff
who are here today, one of the finest medical office staffs around;
beginning with Debbie Tharp. We have worked side by side for 23
years, and I want to thank her for her loyalty and commitment. Our
patients love Debbie, and it certainly shows how much she cares
about the practice that she has remained with me. I also want to
recognize Nicki Greenwell, my office manager, who started working
for me at 20 years old in 2002, covering multiple positions before
accepting the job of office manager in 2011. She has helped my
practice survive huge changes, including the conversion to electronic
medical records. She has helped my practice thrive as a solo practice
in very difficult times. Thank you to Debbie, Nicki and all of my
office staff members for their commitment to excellent patient care.