By Ralphine Major
A journey that began in rural East Tennessee led the aspiring doctor far from his Grainger County home. It was during the early 1930s when Alvis David Simmons enrolled at The University of Tennessee Medical School in Memphis. While there, Simmons often rode in an ambulance up and down the famous Beale Street according to older daughter Sylvia. In 1936, Simmons graduated from The University of Tennessee Medical School. From there, he went to Missouri Baptist Hospital for a year to do an internship that included surgery. After completing his training, the doctor returned home to East Tennessee to practice medicine.
“He wanted to serve his country during World War II,” Sylvia said. “But, he was not allowed to join the military because they needed doctors here at home.” For many years, a certificate hung in his office at the Corryton Medical Clinic. The certificate, signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, thanked Dr. Simmons for his service. For those young men who were accepted into the military, Dr. Simmons gave physicals at no charge. Sylvia shared another remembrance about her father during that time. “His friend, who was also a doctor, was killed during the war,” she said. It bothered her father that his dear friend did not get to use his medical training to help others.
As our nation celebrates another Veterans Day, may we remember those who have sacrificed so much. Thank you to all of the veterans who have protected our freedoms. Thank you to the active military who still serve our great nation today. And thank you to those who, like the beloved country doctor, helped by serving Americans in other ways. (To be continued)