Spurlin honored by Opp chamber

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 8, 2010

Dr. Richard J. Spurlin, who practiced family medicine in Opp for more than 30 years, was honored Friday night at the annual Opp Chamber of Commerce membership banquet for his service to the community.

“Our community is blessed to have men like Dr. Spurlin who are role models in the community,” Opp Chamber of Commerce president Joshua Driver said.

Each year, the Opp Chamber of Commerce honors a person who has made contributions to better the city of Opp, Covington County or the state of Alabama.

Blessings are something Spurlin knows first hand about.

Spurlin’s interest in medicine came after he was diagnosed with polio at age 2 .

“I didn’t walk for a year and a half,” he said. “But I learned to walk again. Life has blessed me from the beginning.”

Through two local doctors’ compassion, dedication and commitment, Spurlin said he was inspired to become a doctor.

“This is where my dream began to come back to my hometown and practice medicine,” Spurlin said. “There is no such thing as a self-made man. There is always someone who has had an impact on your life.”

Through his career, Spurlin served the community in family medicine, which included general surgery, obstetrics and pediatrics.

After his retirement, he continues to serve the community through volunteering his time as the physician for Crossover Ministries, the Opp Cancer Center and Bobcat Athletics.

Spurlin credited many of his teachers at Fleeta and Opp High School for strong educational beginnings.

Spurlin also served in the United States Air Force, where he completed his medical internship at the Air Force Hospital in San Antonio in 1964.

He served in the Vietnam War and worked for the state department as a civilian physician in a Vietnam hospital.

After completing his military service, Spurlin returned home to Opp, sharing office space with Dr. J.G. Dunn and Dr. E.R. MacLennan, opening the Spurlin Clinic P.A. in 1972. He retired from practice in 1999.

Spurlin and wife Sarah have four children — Karla S. Bundy, Jill Spurlin, Melanie S. Howard and Jay Spurlin.

“I give my wife credit for raising our children. She did well,” Spurlin said, calling her his dream girl. “She’s blessed my life for nearly 50 years.”

Spurlin ended his speech, saying “God provides opportunities for those who seize the moments and do his will.”