Hawkeye Articles

Hawkeye Article: Doctors donation skills at clinic!

published online: 3/19/2010

Maryville, Tenn., residents will line up for weekend service.


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Burlington paramedic John Williams and chiropractor Tom Rexroth will spend their weekend in the Appalachian Mountains of Tennessee. But they won't have much of an opportunity to enjoy the scenic landscape.

Instead, the men will spend their time in a makeshift medical clinic at Heritage High School in Maryville, Tenn., providing free medical care for residents who don't have insurance or money to see a doctor.

"It's economically depressed down there. There are entire counties that have no doctor, no dentist, no chiropractor," Williams said.

The two men will lend their services to the Remote Area Medical Volunteer Corps. Joining them will be Tom Rexroth's son, Jason Rexroth, an obstetrician and gynecologist in Cedar Rapids, and Steve Mueller, a chiropractor in Algona.

The four men left in Williams' van at 2 a.m. today and won't stop driving until they hit the Appalachian Mountains about 11 hours later.

"It's an opportunity to give back," said Tom Rexroth, who owns Rexroth Chiropractic Center. "One of the greatest joys in life is to help other people, and this is going to be an opportunity to do that."

Founded in 1985, RAM is a nonprofit, volunteer airborne relief corps that provides free health care, including vision and dental, to people in remote areas of the United States and the world. Though RAM provides medical supplies and three hot meals a day, travel and living expenses are paid by the volunteers.

Williams estimated the trip will cost the four men about $200 each -- a pretty small price to pay to help those in need. When Williams was making reservations for a nearby motel, the clerk asked him if there would be any dentists at the clinic.

"He said his girlfriend needs a tooth pulled and a cavity filled. I told him to get down there early," Williams said.

The clinic will be open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, but hundreds of area residents will be waiting in line several hours before that. Williams said many remote Appalachian residents have to drive as far as 200 miles for proper care, and hundreds likely will be turned away when the clinic closes Sunday night.

"They will be standing there all day. How do you walk away from that?" Williams said.

About 250 volunteers showed up last time RAM had a clinic in Blount County two years ago, and organizers are expecting between 800 and 900 people each day. Tom Rexroth and Mueller will be the only chiropractors at the clinic, and Jason Rexroth will be the only OB/GYN.

Dental cleaning, extractions and eyeglasses usually are the most needed, since even those with insurance often can't afford to cover both dental and optometry. Based in Knoxville, Tenn., RAM provides more than half of its service within the U.S. Much of the coverage is based around the southeast portion of the country, and RAM visits a new area every weekend.

"It's domestic, so we're taking care of our own," Williams said.

Williams, a certified paramedic who works for Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad in Galesburg, Ill., first heard about the program through an Associated Press article that ran in the Hawk Eye a few months ago. It wasn't long before he got his friend and chiropractor Tom Rexroth involved.

"He was ready to do it right away. He said, 'When do we go?' " Williams said.

If things go well, William and Rexroth hope to volunteer for RAM a couple of more times this year. Williams already has his eye on an upcoming clinic in Virginia.

"Once we start doing this, it's going to be addicting. We can drive to most of them (the clinics)," he said.

For more information and a complete schedule of upcoming clinics, visit the RAM Web site at www.rmausa.org. 

Hawkeye Article: Chiropractor treats body and soul in Jamaica!

published online: 11/17/2009

Chiropractor treats body and soul in Jamaica
Rexroth traveling with Christian chiropractic group.


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WEST BURLINGTON -- While most doctors venture to Jamaica to get away from the pressures of caring for patients, Tom Rexroth will be doing just the opposite as he visits the Caribbean island this week.

As part of a seven-day mission trip, Rexroth is traveling with a team of chiropractors on a bus in the Montego Bay area, going from school to school to examine and treat young students and faculty.

"God has blessed me in every way, so I desire to be a blessing to other people," said Rexroth of the West Burlington-based Rexroth Chiropractic Center.

The visits to the schools are arranged beforehand by a local facilitator, Rexroth said.

Rexroth is traveling to Jamaica as part a group of chiropractors belonging to the World Wide Christian Chiropractic Association, which organized the mission trip.

The expedition is a 25th anniversary mission trip, and all the chiropractors who have made mission trips to Jamaica in the past 25 years were invited to participate. Organizers are expecting about 10 chiropractors to attend, Rexroth said.

A non-profit organization, the Fort Collins, Colo.-based Christian chiropractic group organizes short-term and resident trips around the world to minister to both the body and soul. The group has about 1,100 members and offers six short-term mission trips a year to places such as Poland, Ukraine, Honduras and Jamaica.

"They take us to the school and we set up portable adjusting tables where we work on people. We ask them if they have any health concerns, and if it's something that we can help, we offer to treat them," Rexroth said.

The chiropractic missionaries don't need an X-ray machine or other modern equipment to treat misaligned spines.

"A lot of what we do can be done with just an adjusting table, the knowledge that we have of the spine and what we can do with our hands. Chiropractic actually means 'practice by hand,' " Rexroth said.

The main thing chiropractors do is adjust spines to relieve pressure on nerves, which can help relieve a wide range of maladies from headaches to back pain to intestinal problems, Rexroth said.

"If we can determine what is wrong, we can adjust them. An adjustment means putting the bones back in place and getting the pressure off the nerves," Rexroth said.

Rexroth joined the Christian professional organization about 40 years ago while a student at Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport but didn't take his first mission trip to Jamaica until 2007, which was the only other mission trip he has taken.

"The last time I was there (Jamaica), there were four chiropractors and we adjusted 1,100 people," Rexroth said.

After each person has been adjusted, a minister talks with them about Jesus and God's message of salvation.

"We've kind of earned the right, by giving them care, to talk to them about their eternal condition," Rexroth said.

While Jamaica is considered a Christian nation, there are large segments who have "never made a commitment to ask for God's salvation," Rexroth said.

While ministering to the soul is important, it's the professional satisfaction he gets seeing the look of amazement on a person's face after being treated for chronic pain that Rexroth said was the most rewarding part of the trip.

Rexroth has operated his clinic 38 years. His grandfather, Murray Limbcoker, a chiropractor since 1922, opened the West Burlington chiropractic clinic in 1963 and worked there until he retired in 1969. He died in 1973.

Limbcoker constructed the building as a residence and a clinic combined. When he retired, the office closed, but his wife maintained it so when Rexroth, who was in the Army Reserve at the time, decided to begin practicing he would have a place to do so.

Rexroth reopened the clinic in 1971 and has practiced chiropractic medicine there since. He was joined by his son, Joel Rexroth, in 2001.

"Joel is the fifth generation of chiropractor in our family," Rexroth said.

"Now that Dr. Joel is practicing with me, it's a lot easier for me to get away. It used to be when I would leave, everything shuts down. Now I can leave and he just works harder," he added. 

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