At 23 years, 365 days, I was the third-youngest to ever graduate Palmer Chiropractic College – West. I was ‘chiropractically’ mentored by my late uncle, Dr. Alfred Caram, who practiced in Yonkers NY for 24 years before moving to San Jose CA, and then to Turlock, CA.
While there, in addition to starting a new practice, “Uncle Al” became an instructor and clinician at the Palmer-West Campus. I had the privilege of learning a few things under him which made the experience a bit more special. After graduating in March 1990, I headed back east to practice in Connecticut. People have always asked me why I left sunny California and moved to Connecticut – seems like a no-brainer to stay, right?
On October 17, 1989, I survived what’s now known as the Loma Prieta earthquake (Bay Area Earthquake, or “World Series” Earthquake), and when you watch everything you own shake THAT vigorously, including the ground you’re standing on, its enough to make you reconsider how much unpredictability you want in life… but it wasn’t just the 7.1 quake of that day, but the continuous, daily aftershocks that rumbled for at least 3 months that made nights very difficult. After passing licensing exams for the states of California(1990), Connecticut(1991) and New York(1991), I started as an associate of Advanced Back & Neck Center in Milford, CT in February, 1991. After 2 1/2 years there, the opportunity arose in Bethel, CT to work at Associated Rehab Centers – a full office and gym facility geared toward the rehabilitation of injuries caused by car accidents, sports injuries and on-the-job incidents. That facility lasted only one year, so in November 1994 I opened independently at the same(and current) location at 182 Grassy Plain Street in Bethel. My existing solo practice is an extension of Associated Rehab Centers. I had always kept a satellite office, but with different locations from 1994 thru 2005 – most of which were in the shared office of Dr. Joseph Bartko – my colleague from the Associated Rehab days.
The satellite office moved from Rye NY, to Greenwich CT, to Stamford CT, and in 2000, back to Harrison, NY. This last move turned out to be a pivotal move in the history of that little satellite office…it was evacuated on September 11, 2001, along with the buildings near it on Mamaroneck Ave. as those buildings were a target of terrorist attacks in the early 1980’s. The Harrison office proved critical in the decision of mine to work down at Ground Zero for 8 months after the attack. I would leave Harrison after work every Tuesday at 6PM and drive to St. Paul’s Chapel on the northeast corner of the site where I would treat any worker, clergy, cop or fireman there from 8PM until 2AM. Read about that in 2 stories I wrote, “16Acres” and “The Flag”.
Sadly in 2002, my mentor and “chiropractic uncle” Al passed away, and in December 2013 I lost Dr. Joe Bartko. Personally, I have two sons, Joseph 10 and Samuel, 6 1/2.
I was a member and 3-time past president of the Bethel Jaycees as well as A.F.&A.M. (Ark #39 – Bethel, CT), so I enjoy giving back to the community. I enjoy Bethel’s atmosphere as well as the people in the area…and no, I have no regrets about leaving California when I did, except for leaving family behind. In March of this coming year will mark 27 years in practice.