Dr. Rahim Farid has been in the United States for 50 years. Some of his family along with current and former staff members surprised Dr. Farid with a party at his office on Friday to celebrate the occasion.
Recalling his arrival Farid said, "It was on the S.S. Liberty, dock number 33 in New York. I was an exchange visitor with the Fulbright Exchange Student Program. I did not intend to stay," he explained. "I wanted to upgrade my education and return home."
His first night in America, Jan. 12,1953, Dr. Farid stayed at the YMCA for $3.00 a night. He had had only six English lessons. But with a translation book in hand, he started seeing patients the very next day.
In 1958 Dr. Farid returned to his homeland, Tehran, Iran, with his wife Lillie and two children. They planned to raise their family in Iran and their third child, Shermeen, was born there.
But the conditions in Iran were not good. The Farids decided it would be safer and more secure for their family in the United States so they returned to upstate New York in 1959.
"A lady in Brazil, Lorene Evans, had the Thrift Shop," Dr. Farid explained. "She had a pink building with big, large windows. She wanted to turn it into a medical clinic and got my name from an Indiana State Medical Association ad."
Dr. Farid, who was training in thoracic surgery, was looking for somewhere to settle. He responded to Lorene Evans suggestion and came to Brazil in 1961. Once here, through hospital administrator Carl Dickerson, he met Brazil surgeon Dr. Frank Maurer, who offered him a job.
Dr. Farid worked with Dr. Maurer for several years. When Maurer retired due to poor health, Farid took over his practice.
"From the beginning this community treated me with no discrimination," Dr. Farid said. "They treated me with kindness and were friendly. They gave me shelter and security and stood behind me in my hard days.
" I was even honored by being allowed to be a school board member. We started the kindergarten," he added.
"I had a very happy life in this community," Dr. Farid continued. "I built a good reservoir of friends. And there is still the same kindness and friendship. It covers me up. And I mean that," Dr. Farid said sincerely.
He is still practicing part time at his office by appointment and still serves as the Clay County Health Officer.
"I will work as long as I know I don't make medical judgments that would endanger anybody's life," Dr. Farid answered when asked how long he intended to work.
Dr. Farid has five children. Jamileh Houston is a pharmacist in Terre Haute. Hassan is an accountant and lives in Florida. Shermeen Farid-Driscoll, on leave as a flight attendant for US Air, resides in Bloomington. Dr. Reza Farid is a Physical Medical and Rehabilitation specialist for the University of Missouri in Columbia, Mo. Dr. Heidi Sprowls is a dentist and lives in Franklin, Ohio. Dr. Farid still has three sisters and one brother living in Iran.
"I came here barefoot and now I have 13 grandchildren," Dr. Farid said with a big, warm smile. "I love this country and I'm committed to the welfare of this nation as long as I live."