Victoria physician gives back to community, expands medical clinic
March 14, 2011 at 10:02 a.m.
Updated March 13, 2011 at 10:14 p.m.
Blue scrubs rustling, Dr. John McNeill whisks into his office at Twin Fountains Walk-In Clinic.
McNeill plops onto his brown leather chair and has about an hour to talk until it's time to head back to the Citizens Medical Center emergency room.
But that's the life the 50-year-old Victoria physician has chosen.
"I get my work ethic from my father," said McNeill. "My father was one of the hardest working people I've ever known."
The hard work has shone through.
McNeill has opened an urgent care center in Rockport and is breaking ground on another center on the Cuero Highway in April.
McNeill shied away from specifics on the facility because those ideas are still being negotiated, but the center will be similar to the existing walk-in clinic.
The expansion comes only three years after opening the location on Sam Houston Drive.
"I really saw what I considered a need in Victoria," he said. "I knew that there were a lot of people trying to get in to see doctors, and I knew there were a lot of people that were coming to the emergency departments and going to other places to get care because they simply couldn't find a place that was quick and easy."
VICTORIA BORN AND GROWN
To McNeill's right is a window looking out toward Putt-Putt Golf and Games.
McNeill has invested as many memories there as he has in different business ventures in Victoria.
"I enjoyed it when I was a kid," he said, a fondness in his voice.
Coincidentally, McNeill now treats Putt Putt's owner. McNeill even remodeled Putt Putt and used some of Putt Putt's parking for the clinic.
Aside from designing the walk-in clinic himself, he and his brother, Mark, own several properties across Victoria, including some apartments, a storage unit on Airline Road and Spring Creek Place Events Center on Cuero Highway.
But before that, McNeill was a 1978 graduate of St. Joseph High School. He took some classes at Victoria College and then attended Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos.
He had about nine different majors.
During his junior year, McNeill signed up for an emergency medical technician course and the rest is pretty much history.
"I knew from the first night in EMS school that I wanted to be a paramedic," he said.
McNeill had been a paramedic for 11 years in San Marcos when he decided to take his medical career to the next level.
He applied to several medical schools and settled on medical school in Iowa.
Despite becoming an internist, McNeill has kept his paramedic license and passion all these years.
"I'm still a paramedic," he said, smiling.
In 2000, after medical school, he completed his residency in Texas and the day after graduation, he arrived in Victoria ready to work.
He didn't even have time to unload his travel-trailer.
McNeill's father, John Sr., is proud both his sons decided to stay in Victoria.
"I'm just so pleased that he came back and has done very well in Victoria," his father said.
McNeill Sr. had an ice plant when his boys were growing up. There, the two learned fast the value of a dollar and he couldn't be more proud, he said.
Now that both are grown up, he's still proud.
"It's my fault, I made two workaholics," he said. "I really wish both of them would slow down a little bit. But they're not going to do it."
During the week, McNeill works at Twin Fountains Walk-In Clinic.
On the weekend, he's usually in Rockport, at the urgent care center that opened in January.
Between that, he works at doing inpatient internal medicine at Citizens Medical Center and does a TV spot for KAVU.
And then there is being the medical director for Victoria Fire Department EMS and being the program medical director for Victoria College EMS training program.
"I say he's amazing," his brother Mark McNeill said. "I don't know how he has as many hours in the day as he does."
McNeill insists he does take time off, he said laughing.
With the expansion of Twin Fountains, Mark McNeill understands his brother may not have time for the event center the two designed and opened last year.
"He's good to me, I don't know what else to say," his brother said.
Peggy Warren works at the Foliage Shoppe down the road, lives close to McNeill and watches him work as she volunteers at the Citizens Medical Center emergency room.
Seeing several facets of his life is amazing, she said.
"He's always somewhere doing something," she said. "He's definitely found the right calling. He treats you like a person, he doesn't treat you like a number."
McNeill is just doing his job, he said.
McNeill, who has never married or had children, devotes much of his time to his other family; his co-workers and the community.
"If I had children, I don't think I'd be able to work this way," he said. "It's probably taken it toll on some relationships in the past. It's just a matter of setting your priorities. Medicine has always been very important to me."
As the expansion of one of McNeill's vision's comes to fruition, the area will continue will grow, and so will he, he said.
"I believe in long-term goals," he said.