After working nearly 50 years in the community, a staple of Clay County's medical field is stepping out of the office one final time.
Dr. S. Rahim Farid's journey to his upcoming retirement at Clay County Public Health Officer after 37 years in the position began more than 6,500 miles away in Tehran, Iran.
Coming from a family filled with judges and lawyers, Farid took to the medical field, in part, because of his grandfather.
"My grandfather was my mentor and he always said, 'in order to have a healthy society, there needs to be healthy citizens and we should have doctors to take care of them,'" Farid told The Brazil Times. "Iran didn't have a hospital when we were kids, but my grandfather's words always stuck with me."
Farid obtained his medical degree from Tehran University in 1950, then entered the Iranian Air Force for 18 months as a conscript.
"In Iran, it is a requirement to serve in the military after graduating from college," he said. "During that time, I was a doctor and then I worked as a surgeon in Koma for six months."
Seeking to further his education and medical experience, Farid came to the United States Jan. 12, 1953, spending several years on the East Coast, including working as a chief resident in New Jersey.
"I then went back to Iran and spent about eight months trying to make it," he said. "But with three children at the time, I needed a job."
After working in Oneonta, N.Y., for two years, Farid and his family came to Brazil after responding to a call from Lorene Evans.
"She owned the Thrift Shop and had a large pink building she wanted to turn into a medical clinic," Farid said. "When I came here, I met Dr. Frank Maurer, who was a great surgeon. After the idea for the medical facility fell through because the cost was too high, I went to work with him."
A few years later, Maurer's failing health caused him to retire, and Farid took over the practice, which was located on North Walnut Street.
"I think if you want love and a feeling of home, you come to Brazil," Farid said. "The community has been very good to me, and treated me with nothing but kindness and support."
In 1972, Farid became Public Health Officer, and has been in that position ever since.
"I initially took over to finish out the term of Dr. O.L. Wood, who passed away from lung cancer," he said.
Farid maintained his private practice until March 1, 2004, and helped to improve ambulance services and the local hospital's capabilities.
"Before Medicare, we had nothing at the hospital," he said. "It has been very good for medicine, bringing in all the high-level technology we have today."
While speaking with The Brazil Times about his upcoming retirement as Public Health Officer, the 85-year-old Farid emphasized his sentiments for living a long and happy life.
"It is important to always keep peace on the mind and not make a federal case out of everything," he said. "Also, you must learn to forgive and how to apologize, along with having humor, making people smile and never being ashamed of who you are."
As he perused through a scrapbook of his career that was given to him by the Clay County Health Department staff when he retired from his private practice, Farid revealed his thoughts on what the purpose of practicing medicine is.
"Medicine should not be commercialized for profit, it should be for service," he said. "If you want to be a doctor or practice medicine, the number one focus should be on helping the people."
He also added some thoughts on making every day a positive experience.
"People should get along with each other and work together to solve a problem," Farid said. "It's OK to argue and scream at each other, but it is not OK to insult someone to a degree you cannot apologize for. People should enjoy each other's company."
When it comes to his post-professional career, Farid said he did not have a plan other than visiting his two living sisters in Iran, reading the many books he treasures, toying with new gadgets and keeping active.
"Maybe I can talk to Walmart and see if I can be the person who greets everyone as they come in," Farid joked. "But I am proud to be a part of this community, and it has given me good care. I don't have a plan for what I am doing next, but I am going to stay active because if you stay still, you die."
The Clay County Health Department is inviting everyone to its office Friday, Jan. 7, 2011, to celebrate the retirement of Dr. S. Rahim Farid.
The open house is scheduled to take place from 4-6 p.m.
A small ceremony will be conducted at 4:30 p.m., in the community room of the medical office building, 1214 E. National Ave., Brazil.
For more information, call 448-9021.