Rotary Club welcomes Harry, LSUBMC residents

Published 12:18 am Friday, August 3, 2012

Bogalusa Rotary Club members were treated to a double bill on Tuesday when they heard first from Malik Harry regarding his recent trip to Boys State, and then from a couple of doctors from the Rural Family Medicine Residency Program at LSU Bogalusa Medical Center.

Following his introduction of his family members, Harry, a senior at Bogalusa High School, made his way to the podium to talk about his experiences at Boys State, held June 24-30 at Northwestern State University in Nachitoches.

Boys State, and its sister program, Girls State, are sponsored by the American Legion, and is held in every state except Hawaii. Founded in 1935 in Illinois, Boys State is a program for high school juniors who are taught the rights, privileges and responsibilities of being a citizen of the United States. The objective is to teach the structure of city, county and state governments. Activities include legislative sessions, court proceedings, law enforcement presentations and much more. The local American Legion and/ or local businesses pick up the cost of the trip.

Harry said that in an address he gave after being nominated for state treasurer, he was able to take a crushed bag of Cheetos and turn it into a speech that nearly won him the election. As he rose to go to the podium, he said, he stepped on his bag of Cheetos, a 33-cent bag, and hearing the crunch, he got an idea for his speech.

“I can get three of these 33-cent bags of Cheetos for the same price as a 99-cent bag. That’s 25 percent more chips,” he said.

“It’s called getting some bang for your buck.”

Harry had a close run at state treasurer, losing by a single vote.

“I’ll never forget it, and I was happy I was able to go.”

Harry, who plays cornerback for the Bogalusa High School Lumberjacks, is hoping to attend the University of California at Berkeley to study computer engineering. A straight-A student, Harry hopes to be the recipient of either an academic or a football scholarship to help defray the expense of his college education.

Next up was Dr. Smitty Smith, a member of the Rural Family Medicine Residency Program at Bogalusa Medical Center.

Smith, who is from the Amite area, did his undergraduate work at Southeastern Louisiana University and went on to medical school at LSU in New Orleans.

“I did my four long years there,” he said.

He then interviewed in programs all over the southeast Louisiana area.

“I really fell in love with the program here, liked the people. I think the program does a great service for the people of the community.”

Smith, who has two years left in the residency program, praised the physicians guiding the program, including Dr. Richard D. Friend and Dr. William Crooks, noting that they take extra calls and work extra hours because the program is shorthanded right now.

After completing his residency, Smith says he plans to remain in southeast Louisiana, “somewhere between this area, LaPlace and Hammond.”

Dr. Kartik Patel is “one of the few residents that’s not from Louisiana.”

Patel grew up in California but moved to New Jersey. He did his undergraduate work at Penn State, and went to medical school in the Caribbean. All of his clinical rotations were done in New York City.

He said he interviewed for programs all over the country, especially throughout the Midwest, but “Bogalusa was number one.

“I really like it down here and there’s something about the program that really stuck out to me. I like the small community feel,” he said, because in New York “you really didn’t know anyone outside of the hospital. No one knew who anyone was.

“I’ve got two more years left here and I’m looking forward to the next year.”