“Doc” Cannon chose to be a country doctor. After having spent a few years working with renowned Dr. Albert Schweitzer in Africa, he returned to America and headed for the poorest areas of Appalachia to help the people who lived in remote, mountainous areas and could not easily reach health care. Balsam Grove once again became his home since this is where his father had been the community’s doctor and had ridden his horse over the same paths that Doc would later drive.
Although it was 1964, most of his patients had no form of communication with the outside world. On Mondays and Fridays, Doc would go a couple of miles to a general store in Jackson County where he picked up his mail and any notes left there for him from families who needed a cabin call. He often then would travel twenty-five arduous miles across the mountain from his clinic to reach those families.
Reaching his patient was often the real challenge, easily seen in this photograph as Doc cautiously makes his way across a makeshift foot bridge that he’s lucky someone installed a kind of a handrail.
Doc Cannon on Bridge
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