Dr. Bren A. Myers retires after 42 years as an Optometrist in Beloit and Smith Center, Kan. His career began in Beloit in 1972 and expanded to Smith Center in 2001. Dr. Myers officially retired on Dec. 30, 2013. The community is invited to attend a retirement reception at the First National Bank community room in Beloit from 3 to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 5.
Dr. Myers was born and raised in Smith Center and graduated from Smith Center High School in 1964. He attended Kansas Wesleyan University where he met his future wife Carolyn. They married June 10, 1967.
“I close my eyes and I see Carolyn walking across the campus of Kansas Wesleyan in September of 1964 like it was yesterday. Open your eyes and 50 years have gone by,” said Dr. Myers.
He went on to graduate in 1968 with a Bachelor’s degree in chemistry. In 1972 Dr. Myers graduated from Optometry school at The Ohio State University, alma mater of childhood Optometrist Dr. John Patzel, who encouraged Dr. Myers to pursue Optometry.
“When I was 4 ½ years old, my mom and dad took me out to California for eye surgery. It was this experience and Dr. Patzel that encouraged my interests in Optometry,” said Dr. Myers.
In August of 1972, Dr. Myers returned to Kansas and purchased the practice of Dr. R. H. Ober, who had been practicing in Beloit for over 50 years. The office was located in the west walk of the Porter Hotel, next to Tom Conroy's law office. The office moved to its present location at 206 S. Mill St., formerly the Star Seed building, in 1983.
The practice of Optometry has changed dramatically over the last 42 years. Dr. Myers was among the first group of Kansas Optometrists who earned the privilege to prescribe medications and manage eye disease by way of additional training and licensure. In 1972 when Dr. Myers started practice in Kansas, no pharmaceuticals or medical eye treatments were allowed. Expanded clinical training and legislative changes over the last four decades have enabled Optometrists to prescribe topical and oral medications for treatment of eye disease including glaucoma. Dr. Myers played an active role in campaigning Kansas Legislators for these much needed changes.
Mr. Gary Robins, CAE, Executive Director of the Kansas Optometric Association said, "Dr. Myers’ generation moved the profession of Optometry and the delivery of quality eye care forward in many ways. Kansas Optometry law was updated to reflect the clinical training of Optometrists and the inclusion of Optometrists in Medicare. They embraced new technologies to achieve quality eye care for their patients. Kansans owe a debt of thanks to Bren and his colleagues."
“My passion to help people is what motivated me to improve my scope of practice and keep going for 42 years,” said Dr. Myers.
He recounts one of his most memorable patients, “I examined 4-year-old boy who was always getting into trouble. I found out he was extremely farsighted, so no wonder he was misbehaving, he couldn’t see! This young man now has a college degree and even went on to get his masters.”
Beloit youth baseball has also been a very important endeavor for Dr. Myers.
“Back when this all started, everyone was telling me how to get involved, but they forgot to tell me how to get OUT of it,” said Dr. Myers with a chuckle. His involvement with youth baseball went on to span 38 years; including a 25-year coaching career.
“I was fortunate to have some very talented players and parental support. We won 80 percent of our baseball games over 25 years. We placed second at the K-18 State Tournament five times and won the championship in 1987. It wasn't about winning; it was about playing your best and having fun,” said Dr. Myers.
Dr. Myers was also the K-18 State Co-Commissioner for 13 years. In August of 2012 former players and community members gathered in Beloit at Bill Foreman Field for the surprise dedication of the Dr. Bren A. Myers Press Box, an honor that stands fittingly alongside the legacy of longtime friend and coaching partner, the late Bill Foreman.
"Congratulations to Bren and his family on his retirement. He served this community with great professionalism as a doctor. I will always remember and cherish his sincerity and generosity as a great baseball coach and as a great friend. Thank you and best of luck to you and Carolyn in life's next step," said Phil Roberts, former K-18 baseball player under Dr. Myers.
Along with baseball, Dr. Myers’ community involvement has included the Beloit Planning Commission and the Beloit United Methodist Church. Dr. Myers is an avid golfer and longtime member of Beloit Country Club.
Progress and change has been the norm for The EyeCare Center. In 1999, Dr. Myers expanded his practice with the addition of Dr. Chad Thompson. Drs. Myers and Thompson opened a second location in Smith Center in 2001. Dr. Nick Richmond joined the practice in 2011.
Three people were employed in the practice in 1972. The EyeCare Center now employs 15 people, including two certified opticians and four certified eye care technicians. Construction of a new Beloit location for The EyeCare Center began in 2013 with expected completion this summer.
Dr. Thompson reflects on their 14-year partnership, "I am eternally grateful to Dr. Myers. I became an Optometrist thanks to his encouragement. I would not be where I am today without his support and mentoring. He taught me so many things about the practice of Optometry that they don't teach you in school. I wish Dr. Myers and Carolyn the best of luck in retirement, but we are sure going to miss him around the office."
"I have been fortunate to practice alongside Dr. Myers. In his decades of experience, he has truly seen it all. The education he has given me has been invaluable," said Dr. Richmond.
Dr. Myers and his wife Carolyn have three sons Chad, Todd and Seth. They also have four grandchildren.
When asked about his plans for retirement, Dr. Myers said, "I plan on doing the same things I have been doing the last three to four years. I want to see my grandkids more and spend more time with my wife. I hope to be remembered as a man with a positive attitude and a ready smile."
Dr. Myers will be honored with a retirement reception on Wednesday, February 5 from 3 to 5p.m. at the 1st National Bank community room in Beloit.
Cards of congratulations may be sent to Dr. Bren A. Myers at 7 Myers Lane, Beloit, KS 67420.