Still going after all these years
Published 6:35 pm Wednesday, June 23, 2004
By By LYDIA GRIMES Feature Reporter
There are not many doctors still practicing after 50 years, but there are a few that had rather be at work than anywhere else.
Dr. Allen Couch Sr. is one of those people. He came to Brewton over 50 years ago and set up a chiropractic practice on Forrest Avenue in East Brewton. He continues with the same practice today, although he has cut back a little bit. After all, he is almost 79 years old and doesn't have quite the stamina that he once did. But still, you will find him in his office most Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays doing what he loves to do, helping people with their aches and pains.
He was born in Marshall County, Ala. and moved to Weaver, Calhoun County in 1929. He grew up the only child of a farmer. His father died when Couch was only seven years old, making it rather hard on him and his mother, especially during the depression years. They raised most of their food on the farm and got by somehow.
He attended school and graduated from Jacksonville High School in 1942. He missed serving in World War II when a back problem exempted him from serving. He got a job working at Fort McClellan and then in an ordinance plant in Anniston, the same place where today hazardous material is being burned. He was married to Helen Reid in 1945 and returned to Fort McClellan until after the war was over.
In 1947, as a result of his mother-in-law having good results with a chiropractor, he talked to Dr. Roy Owens about the possibility of getting into the same field. He was enrolled at chiropractic school in Davenport, Iowa.
Things were a little different in those days. There were 4,400 class hours required for graduation and instead of going a couple of hours a day, the classes were from early in the morning until well into the afternoon. This way he was able to complete the course in 18 months instead of the six years required today.
After he finished school he moved to Gadsden and set up a practice in 1949. He only stayed there six months before moving to Roanoke, Ala. One of his salesmen told him about the little town of Brewton having a good economy and he thought it might be a good idea to check it out. His brother-law was practicing in Monroeville so the two of them went into practice together in the same building that Couch uses today in East Brewton. Dr. C.L. Reid made the move to Brewton too, and the two doctors were in business.
One of the biggest differences in regular medicine and chiropractic medicine is the fact that chiropractors do not give out any prescription medicine. Dr. Couch says that he used to give vitamins but with the advancement of health consciousness, people can buy those over the counter anywhere. A patient goes to a chiropractor to have an "adjustment" which involves manipulating the muscles and bones.
Dr. C.L. Reid died in 1990 and the practice has been carried on ever since by Couch. He says that he believes that he is helping lots of people that really need his help.
He and his first wife, Helen, had two children, Allen and Ann. Both of them work at First Progressive Bank in Brewton. Allen's wife is Sharon who teaches at W.S. Neal Middle School and Ann is married to Larry Crosby, who works at Brewton Insurance and Real Estate Agency. There are five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren in the Couch family. One of those grandchildren just happens to be Catherine Crosby who was Miss Alabama last year.
His first wife died in 1992 and he remarried in 1998 to Betty Brooks from Evergreen. She has three children, nine grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
The years have seen some big changes in the chiropractic field and Couch acknowledges that they have even though the equipment he uses hasn't changed much. He does a lot of physical therapy these days and stays up on all the newest methods of treatment by attending 18 hours of training each year. Insurance pays for much of the treatment he gives but that is changing. He has no computer and has to file everything by hand. He says most insurance companies and Medicare are all going to electronic filing and that is going to be a problem that he just doesn't want to deal with.
When he is not in his office, Dr. Couch likes to work in the yard and said that he would love to have a garden but the dirt is not good for growing where he lives. He and his wife travel around to see the grandchildren in Mississippi, Tennessee and Florida and take little trips to Montgomery and Pensacola when they have the chance. He used to fish a lot but has about given that up, although he still likes to go deer hunting.
He may be 78 years old but Dr. Allen Couch is not sitting on his couch at home. He stays busy and maybe that is why he is as happy as he seems to be these days.