Published 11:57 pm Wednesday, June 27, 2007
By by Lydia Grimes – features reporter
Anyone who has ever had physical problems and needed therapy can appreciate the love and devotion Michael Rowell gives to every one of his patients.
Rowell is an occupational therapist with Amedisys Home Health Care and operates out of their Brewton offices. It is his job to work with patients to help them regain the ability to do as much as they can after surgery or a stroke.
He sees 20 to 25 patients a week. Sometimes he goes to the home of a patient and sometimes he works in assisted living facilities.
Rowell remembers one case in particular where the therapy has been so important.
He works closely with others at Amedisys Home Care to see to the complete care of their patients. There are physical therapists, speech therapists, nurses, social workers and certified nurses assistants who work with the physicians to make sure the patients needs are taken care of.
Patients are seen by Rowell as long as they are making progress. If they reach the point that they are no longer making any progress in their recovery, they no longer qualify for the home health care.
Rowell says there is a great need for therapists, but most of the schools that train them always have small classes and more schools need to add it to the curriculum.
Rowell was born in Monroeville. His father died when he was very young and his mother remarried when he was three.
By the time Rowell started to school, the family had moved to Brewton. His dad worked at St. Regis and transferred to Smurfit Stone bringing the family to Brewton. Rowell grew up in the city school system. He said that he was an average student but wishes he had been better. He graduated from T.R. Miller in 1984 and enrolled at Jefferson Davis Community College for a quarter. During this time he decided to be a hair cutter. He cut hair in high school and then moved his business to the Hair Port and worked with Paul Moore. He stayed there for the next 10 years.
He was married in 1991 to Dana Steele, who had been his high school sweetheart.
In the years he was cutting hair, Rowell returned to JDCC.
He took the basic classes at JDCC and applied to O.T. school at the University of South Alabama. He didn't make it the first time he applied because the class filled up so quickly. He spent the next year taking more classes at South Alabama “fine tuning his skills” for the next time he could apply. He re-applied the next year and made it into the class.
Dana had already gotten her degree and was teaching elementary school at Century, Fla. She worked while he went to school in Mobile, driving back and forth almost every day. On Fridays and Saturdays he cut hair here in Brewton. He graduated from the University of South Alabama in 1998. He got a job working with Baptist Health Care in Pensacola and when the opportunity came up, he got a transfer to Jay, Fla. When it became fulltime in about 2000, he became Director of Therapy Services in Jay, and still worked with his occupational therapy patients.
In September of 2004, he left Jay and went to work in a local nursing home facility here in Brewton. He got on with Amedisys Home Health and went full-time with them in April.
Rowell is a family man and he takes it very seriously. When he is not working, he is spending time with his wife, Dana, and his children Maggie (8) and Logan (4).
He is very active in First Baptist Church of Brewton, as a Sunday school teacher, in children's church and the nursery.
He is involved with Wheels for the World, which is an organization that takes old and used wheelchairs and has them refinished in prisons to be sent overseas.
Rowell loves to garden and read. He is a family man and spends most of his free time with them.