Between Richard Livingstons high school graduation in 1981 and joining the Center for Primary Care in August 2001, there hasnt been a dull moment. After nearly two decades of service to his country and pursuit of his education and training in medicine, he is now channeling his energy toward putting down roots in Augusta.
Straight out of high school, Richard said goodbye to Rockford, Ill., and his family parents Richard Sr. and Margaret, and siblings Theresia, Lori, and Robert to join the U.S. Army. After basic training at Fort Dix in New Jersey, he moved to Fort Eustis in Virginia for 6 months training in the repair of helicopter armament systems, and then on to Germany, where he lived and worked for 4 1/2 years.
One of the reasons he joined the Army was with hopes of spending some time overseas near his German grandmother. He wasnt disappointed. I loved being in Germany, he recalls. It gave me a chance to visit some of my relatives and connect with my roots.
His next assignment was an 18-month stint at Fort Hood, Texas. As he neared the end of his commitment to the Army, he briefly considered a military career but always knew that whatever he decided to do with his life, he would continue his education.
Richards first steps as a civilian were to move to Augusta, where he once had temporary duty, and enroll in Augusta State University. While stationed here, he made friends in the Garden City and learned to appreciate Augustas educational opportunities and temperate weather. In 1990, at age 26, Richard graduated from ASU, and was accepted to medical school at the Medical College of Georgia.
Thats when the Army came back into Richards life. When I finished college, the Army called and asked, Do you want us to pay for your medical school education? he recalls. The deal they offered was to pay for all tuition and books in exchange for one year of active duty for each year of medical school. It was too good to refuse.
Dr. Livingston did not decide until his third year of medical school what he wanted to specialize in. During his family practice rotation, he found his focus. I realized how important the family dynamic is in a persons health, he says. I wanted to be able to care for the whole family.
Dr. Livingston graduated from MCG in 1994 and began repaying his debt to the Army, choosing to do his residency at Fort Benning, Ga. After 3 years there, he moved to Fort Polk, Louisiana, which he describes as nowhere, to work at the Armys Joint Readiness Training Center. Troops destined for foreign military operations in countries such as Bosnia and Serbia trained there in simulations of conditions they might encounter overseas. As part of their training, “They had to set up entire combat supply hospitals, he explains.
While his work there was challenging and enjoyable, leisure time was another story. If you liked to hunt and fish, it was a sportsmans paradise, but otherwise, there was nothing to do, he says. Everything was far away and the humidity, heat, lightning storms, and mosquitoes only made things worse.
When Dr. Livingston completed his military service in July of 2001, he joined the Center for Primary Care in Evans. Since then, building his new practice has been his highest priority, but he also makes time to renovate the house off Wrightsboro Road that he purchased during medical school. He does some of the work himself painting, sheetrock, and wiring, for example but relies on professionals for bigger projects, like his new kitchen.
Much of his time away from work is given to a long-time hobby restoring aging autos. A self-described Car Man, Dr. Livingston has seldom met an old car he didnt love. He rescues mostly GM cars in varying states of disrepair and restores them mechanically and cosmetically. At present, he is the proud owner of a fully restored candy-apple red convertible 69 Chevelle SS, and a couple more that are patiently awaiting his magic touch: a 67 yellow hardtop Chevelle, and a 66 Impala convertible. He also owns a 99 Grand Prix, and of course, the truck he drives to work.
Professionally, CPC and Dr. Livingston are a good match. CPC is benefiting from his unique experience and perspective, and Dr. Livingston is happily settling into his new home at CPC and in the Garden City: building his practice, caring for his new patients, and getting involved in the community.