This month we are honored to recognize another Veterans Home resident who proudly served our country in the United States Armed Forces. In September 1954, Robert (Bob) Morovitz, a native of Baden, Missouri, enlisted in the U.S. Army and received his basic training at Camp Chafee, Arkansas. Technical School at Fort Sam Houston, Texas prepared Bob for duties as Medical/Hospital Corpsman at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. Robert’s unit was later deployed to Camp McCoy, Wisconsin to provide medical services for National Guardsmen participating in summer exercises.
In September 1955, Pvt. Morovitz received orders to report to the 565th Ambulatory Support Unit at Camp Baumholder, Germany. The Unit’s mission was to provide medical assistance and ambulance transportation for Army units that were conducting training exercises at various outlying locations. It was pretty much “business as usual” until the tragic hour that terrorists attacked the American installation in Beirut, Lebanon. Heavy casualties called for immediate establishment of emergency care stations manned by qualified medical personnel. Because of the urgency of the situation, Bob’s unit was ordered to make ready to board a plane, fly to Beirut and to parachute with supplies to aid victims of the bombings. Near-panic ensued! Literally, nobody in the unit had ever jumped from a plane or had any type of emergency jump training. Fortunately, other arrangements were made and the alert for our soldier’s unit was cancelled.
Robert Morovitz believes that it is more than coincidental that he chose a helping profession starting with his work as an Army medic. He recalls numerous incidents and indicators that preceded the start of his life-work and that influenced his choices. Bob believes that a “guiding hand” has been at work in his life since his early teens – probably before.
At age 14, Robert, an athletic boy, was practicing jumps. Somehow, he landed too hard from too high and damaged the arches of both feet. Bob’s dad had once seen an Osteopath and he decided to take his son to see if this physician could help. They reached the address that Dad remembered. The interior didn’t look the same, but the two spoke with the receptionist and sat down to wait. Within a few minutes a young man greeted the visitors with a firm handshake and a broad smile – definitely not the same doctor!
After examining the patient, the man in a white coat asked, “Have either of you ever seen a chiropractor?” Gently overlooking the puzzled faces of father and son, Doctor Fred Derda, D.C. said, “I think that with Robert’s cooperation we can bring him back to full muscular and orthopedic health and much more, as well.”
Thus commenced an eight month physical and dietary regimen that not only healed the damage resulting from Bob’s fall, but also resolved other medical issues that had presented. Most significantly, under the guidance of this physician, Robert committed to a health-centered lifestyle that’s served him well and that has empowered Dr. Robert Karl Morovitz, D.C. to help many others. Was the unintended visit to a Chiropractor’s office an accident? Bob doesn’t think so!
Robert excelled at Beaumont High School and, like many students, he had a part-time job. He enjoyed his work and the people at Reynolds Aluminum. Bob did well in a variety of assignments that included warehousing, inventory and shipping. Robert thought the most interesting department was printing and that someday he might like to train in this area.
Graduation ceremonies called for decisions to be made. Having come to know Robert as a valuable employee, Reynolds Aluminum offered him a full-time position. Bob was grateful to his bosses for the vote of confidence; however, military service seemed to be the best choice at that time. In parting, management assured Bob that there would be a job waiting for him when he returned.
Upon discharge from the Army in 1956, Robert faced another big decision. As promised, Reynolds Aluminum offered him not only a job, but also full expense-paid training leading to the status of journeyman printer and Robert’s choice of company locations – an opportunity not even dreamed of a couple of years earlier!
There was, however, another career possibility that Robert wished to explore. Beginning with his early experiences with Dr. Derda, followed by his recent work as a medical corpsman, Bob’s interest in the healing arts was taking root. Chiropractic care appealed to him because of the good results that could be achieved without the use of medicines. Difficult as it was, Robert declined the Reynolds offer and prepared to start college.
After earning his Bachelor of Science degree at Vermillion College, Bob enrolled at the Missouri Chiropractic College in St. Louis, Missouri. Earlier, Robert had met the lovely Mary Schwab and the two began dating. On October 25, 1958, the couple married, commencing a fifty-year partnership that produced two gifted children, David and Michelle. Now, as Robert begins training for his life-work, prospects for the future are bright indeed!
Upon completion of chiropractic studies, Dr. Morovitz partnered with Dr. Derda, his former mentor. In 1963, Missouri Chiropractic College merged with the well-known Logan College of Chiropractic, effectively making Robert an alumnus of Logan. In the years following, Dr. Bob developed close ties with faculty, students and directors at Logan College, now known as Logan University. There were seminars, workshops and special events, as well as academic and professional relationships that enriched and supported Dr. Morovitz in his efforts to be a more effective caregiver.
1963 — A NEW SHINGLE IS HUNG! The small community of New Athens, Illinois had never had a chiropractor and neither, Dr. Bob guesses, had any of the small towns surrounding New Athens. Bob suspects that his decision to start an office there had something to do with a nudge from his now familiar “Guiding Hand.” Almost from day-one, folks in pain filled Doctor Bob’s waiting room. The doc never advertised. Patients just talked with friends and neighbors about how good they felt after treatment. Many patients became good friends.
Vibrant family relationships, a challenging profession and Robert’s commitment to community service were the foundation of this man’s life. Church and charity was fundamental, as was his and Mary’s proud support of their children’s academic, music and sports achievements. Bob recalls, “Thirty years passed very quickly.”
Retirement years were wonderful — until the morning of February 19, 2013. Now 78, Doctor Morovitz drove to town to pick up a prescription. Upon returning to the car, he had trouble opening the door. When finally seated, Bob had difficulty putting his foot on the brake pedal, as was his custom before starting the engine. Next, he found that he could not insert the ignition key. After several tries, our hero managed to drive himself to the hospital. “I THINK THAT I’M HAVING A STROKE!” he screamed. He was indeed.
Now a resident of the Missouri Veterans Home – St. Louis, Robert may be seen wheeling down the hall to the dining room for a game of poker or bingo, or maybe to the recreation room to watch his favorite sports on wide-screen television. “Bob,” as friends know him, usually makes an appearance at Happy Hour and other groups that involve stimulating and up-beat conversation.
Robert Morovitz wants to thank EVERYONE who has helped him since his stroke: staff and residents, also friends and family who live on the other side of these doors. Bob tells this biographer that most of all, he loves and respects the hardy men and women who daily make their way down these halls with courage, grace and good humor. We love you too, Bob, and we’re very glad that you choose to make your home with us. SEE YOU AT HAPPY HOUR!