The irony of the situation is that Hathcock’s profession of aligning his patients’ spines has greatly injured his own, forcing him to leave the job he loves and even placing him on an operating room table.
“The most important thing was that I was able to provide chiropractic care to the community I grew up in. When I was growing up in Cleveland it was a place where people took care of each other, and I tried hard to exemplify that in my practice,” Hathcock said.
He first found a deep appreciation for chiropractic medicine when his sister sustained an injury. Hathcock saw the benefit of the practice and decided at that point he would train for the profession.
After 25 years the biggest change for Hathcock’s practice has been the number of referrals given by local doctors.
“When we first started you didn’t see too many medical referrals to chiropractors. I’ve seen that change to where we get one or two referrals a month from a medical physician,” he said.
In 2006, the doctor was awarded Tennessee Chiropractor of the Year.
In addition to serving the community as a chiropractor, Hathcock was a county commissioner for 12 years, worked as the board chairman of New Hope Crisis Pregnancy Center for 10 years, former president and treasurer of the Teachers Credit Union and currently serves on the church council at the South Cleveland Church of God.
“I was born in Hamilton County, but I have been in Bradley since I was three days old. This is such a beautiful place to live and I have been truly blessed to call Cleveland home,” said Hathcock.
Since the doctor started his practice, he has continued to see growth. By the time of his retirement in March he had almost 5,000 patient files, and after all those patient adjustments and taking care of his family, Hathcock’s spine has suffered.
“After 25 years, physical chiropractic work has damaged my spine. People soon find out we are not 10 feet tall and bulletproof. I would do it all again for this great community,” Hathcock said with a smile.
However, the damage to Hathcock’s back requires surgery to try and alleviate the damage.
“The outpouring of community support has been outstanding. I will never give up my desire to give to this community. It has given so much to me,” he said.
Looking to life after his career and recovery Hathcock hinted at several different community objectives he would love to participate in. Everything from driving a special needs bus to helping children at the Family Resource Agency.
“You know, I have never fished. I would love to learn to fish,” he said with a laugh. “But, in all seriousness, you can’t say good-bye without crying. This is like walking away from family.”
Even with retirement and surgery looming, Hathcock did everything he could for his patients. He researched different chiropractors in the community and found Dr. Brandon Forrester to be a good fit for his current patients.
“My patients have never been files or patients. They have been family. Getting the news about my spine was devastating because I knew it meant I had to say goodbye,” Hathcock said.