Port St. Joe doctor reflects on rebuilding practice, strong community ties

There’s still a few repairs left to complete in Dr. Vincent Ivers’s Port St. Joe office – a few of the windows are still covered in plywood, and the closet in the doctor’s office still needs its doors to be replaced.

But, considering how far the 1950s building has come since Hurricane Michael flooded it with 5 feet of water and lodged stubborn black sludge into the drywall, the Iverses are happy with their progress.

“It’s just some little things,” said Juliette Ivers, the clinic’s manager and Dr. Ivers’ wife, scanning the break room for unfinished details. “But someday I want to finish and then throw a party, invite all the patients and everyone and celebrate that we’re finally done.”

The doctor’s office was back up and serving patients less than a year later.

But Vincent Ivers said the credit belonged to the community – his patients – who banded together after the storm to rebuild the Twentieth Street office.

“When I got back after the storm, this place was gone, basically,” he said. “I was like, ‘well, I guess we need to go back to Orlando.’”

“But patients came in and helped us, and volunteers, because I don’t know how to do roofing. They did the walls, the roof. We paid for all the materials, but as far as labor, they really helped us a lot.”

Ivers has been serving the Port St. Joe community since he first moved to the town from Orlando in 1995.

He and his wife discovered the community while driving to Pensacola, where he was interviewing for a position at Ascension Sacred Heart.

“We drove through when we were coming back,” Ivers said. “It just kind of seemed different, and I don’t know any other part of Florida that’s even close to this – nice and small and right on the beach.”

Ivers worked at Gulf Pines, a since demolished Gulf County hospital, for several years before opening his own practice and eventually purchasing his current building, which has served as one of the town’s only private medical practices since it was first opened in the 1950s Wayne and Joe Hendrix.

The practice has survived several disasters, first the hurricane, then the Covid-19 pandemic, which made its way to Port St. Joe in 2020.

“I think the hurricane kind of prepared us to be a little stronger,” said Juliette Ivers. “When Covid came along, I was like ‘ok.’ It was not the same, but it was kind of the same stress level. But here we are, you know, we survived.”

Now that things are returning to normal, the Iverses say they are thankful their practice has been able to endure and that they are able to continue to serve the community where they have lived for almost three decades.

“It’s been one thing after another, but we’ll get there. We just have to keep positive,” said Juliette Ivers.

“There are a lot of good people here in Port St. Joe who really, really help us.”

In addition to their general practice in Port St. Joe, the Iverses also run a medical cosmetic center in Panama City, which specializes in aesthetic treatments, including botox and bellafill.

For more information about their practices and the services they provide, contact 850-872-1777.

Meet the Editor

David Adlerstein, The Apalachicola Times’ digital editor, started with the news outlet in January 2002 as a reporter.

Prior to then, David Adlerstein began as a newspaperman with a small Boston weekly, after graduating magna cum laude from Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. He later edited the weekly Bellville Times, and as business reporter for the daily Marion Star, both not far from his hometown of Columbus, Ohio.

In 1995, he moved to South Florida, and worked as a business reporter and editor of Medical Business newspaper. In Jan. 2002, he began with the Apalachicola Times, first as reporter and later as editor, and in Oct. 2020, also began editing the Port St. Joe Star.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

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