Article Date: 9/1/2009

A Call to Serve
reflections
THE HUMAN SIDE OF OPTOMETRY

A Call to Serve

Political interest, a genuine care for the people and a drive to give back have inspired me to run for political office.

GREG MARROW, O.D., HARRISONBURG, VA.

Dr. Marrow and family with volunteers prior to one of many rally parades.

“Are you crazy?” and, “Why, with a busy, successful practice, a small farm and two young children, would you ever want to go into politics?” are common questions that I've heard from friends and patients after I announced I would be running for the Democratic nomination for the 25th District House of Delegates in Virginia. The answer is ever evolving as I attend numerous parades, give countless speeches and shake hundreds of hands.

An early interest

First, I've been involved in politics, in one way or another, most of my life. From campaigning for a close friend's Senator father, to canvassing for his state representative mother, to volunteering during presidential elections from the 1980's on.

I guess you could say that politics is in my blood, and I learned early on that if democracy is going to work as intended, a strong voice for the people must be present in the halls of legislatures. As I have grown older, and my political knowledge has matured, my commitment to making a difference in my state has strengthened substantially as I witness the ever-growing influence of special interests, often to the detriment of our communities and our way of life.

A natural extension

Second, I, like you, genuinely care about people. I believe that most of us have an altruistic streak that led us to optometry as a profession. Add that compassion with our training and expertise to assess and fix problems and the fact that we, as a profession, are quite accustomed to fighting special interests, and you can see why politics is a natural extension of the Optometrie personality. It's in our blood. We're hard-wired for it on all levels, from holding positions on local school boards on up to the national stage.

A zeal for giving back

Lastly, I, like many of you, want to give back to a community and profession that have treated us well. For some, that means donating generously to political action committees or optometry schools. For others, it means supporting InfantSee, community outreach and screening programs. For me I've long felt that my role is in the state legislature where I can be a strong advocate for optometry as our profession evolves during these trying times.

As this campaign rolls along, I've quickly learned that this election has never really been about my reasons for running. It's been about preserving my friends', neighbors' and childrens' quality of life, and about helping move optometry forward in whatever direction we choose. It's about community issues rather than political party issues, and about the personal stories of the people I meet along the way. So am I crazy? Possibly. My wife might even say probably, but I prefer “nonconformist.” So, as I prepare for yet more speeches and yet more hand shaking, the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson echo in my mind: “Do not follow where the beaten path may lead. Go, instead, where there is no path and leave a trail.” OM

For more information on Dr. Marrow, visit: http://gregmarrow.com.


DO YOU HAVE A MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE YOU'D LIKE TO SHARE? DISCUSS YOUR STORY WITH JENNIFER KIRBY, SENIOR ASSOCIATE EDITOR OF OPTOMETRIC MANAGEMENT, AT (215) 628-6595, OR JEN.KIRBY@WOLTERSKLUWER.COM. OM OFFERS AN HONORARIUM FOR PUBLISHED SUBMISSIONS.

Optometric Management, Issue: September 2009