The EasTex Vet Clinic team pictured standing from left are Dr Kevin Acuna, Dr. James Weatherly, Jessica Henry, Russell Carroll, C.C. Burns, Tim Turner, Megan Wallace, Heather Brewer, Gwen Gillespie and Dr Jason Richards; sitting from left are Amy Plunkett, Mariana Perez and Kristi Lakey.
Not pictured are Brynn Lindsey, Angela Cozadd and Brady Clifton. (Photo provided by EasTex Vet Clinic)
EasTex Vet Clinic named Agribusiness of the Year
By Kelly Daniel
The Nacogdoches County Agribusiness Committee names EasTex Vet Clinic as the Agribusiness of the Year. Dr. James Weatherly and business partner Dr. Jason Richards, along with associate veterinarians and staff members will be honored at the 14th Annual Agriculture Appreciation and Awareness Banquet for the years of service the business has provided to families, farms and the community.
"My first contact with Jim was working with my own livestock," said Don Welch, who has used the clinic's services for going on three decades. "He's a hard working guy who is honest in his business."
In addition to caring for the Welch's cattle and horses, a recent accident involving the family's dog Cash revealed to Welch another important part of the care that the clinic provides.
"We were hog hunting on our land, and our dog was accidentally shot," he said. "Of course, it's a Saturday afternoon, late in the day, but we called. They met us at the office, and they cared for Cash. They even met us again early Sunday morning so we could check on him."
Cash recovered, and Welch said he realized that Weatherly and his staff "are involved in more than vaccinating 200 head of cattle. They have to deal with the emotions of people and their family pets. They show compassion."
Weatherly is an alumnus of SFASU, class of 1973. Before opening the practice in Nacogdoches, he gained training and experience first in the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, graduating in 1980. Then, while serving in the U.S. Army, he spent his Saturdays for one year working in the only emergency animal clinic in San Antonio. The experience he learned there in triage continues to benefit the animals treated now.
At that time, he also established an embryo transfer facility and program for the Guadalupe Cattle Co. in New Braunfels where he maintained 1,200 head of recipient cattle.
"My wife Gail and I decided to move back home to Nacogdoches in December 1983 and establish our own vet practice and raise our family," Weatherly said. "We purchased property at 59 and 259 north and opened the business in January 1984 in a 900-sq.-ft. animal clinic and cattle pens with no roofs.
The Weatherly family included daughters Kelley and Holly and son James. They lived adjacent to the clinic for the first five years and the entire family participated in the daily routines. "Gail practically raised our kids while I worked 80 to 100 hours a week in a predominately ambulatory practice for about 16 years," he said. "My father Hollis was retired and became my right hand in the practice for that 16-year period until Dr. Jason Richards joined in 2000 as an associate veterinarian." In 2005, Richards became a partner.
In 2008, Dr. Wendy Blount joined the team on a part-time basis, and in 2013, Dr. Kevin Acuna joined as an associate.
The clinic started with treating a mix of approximately 70 percent bovine, 20 percent small animal and 10 percent equine. Now, the numbers have shifted to 60 percent small animal, 30 percent bovine and 10 percent equine.
The facility grew to a 5,000-sq.-ft. small animal facility and a 12,000-sq.-ft. large animal in 2001, and now includes an in-house crematory that was added in 2005.
The business currently employs four veterinarians, six full-time receptionists/technicians and five part-time technicians.
"Throughout the growth of our practice, we have continued to update our state of the art clinic to enhance our veterinary medical service to the community," Weatherly said.
Many of the county's families may share the same opinion of Dr. Weatherly and his clinic's staff as Welch - that "we are fortunate to have them in Nacogdoches."
About the Agriculture Appreciation and Awareness Banquet
The 14th annual Nacogdoches County Agriculture Appreciation and Awareness Banquet is Monday, March 31 at the Nacogdoches County Exposition & Civic Center . A social hour begins at 6 p.m., and the program starts at 7 p.m. The public is encouraged to attend.
Keynote speaker is Leroy Shafer, Chief Operating Officer, Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo.
Four awards will be presented:
• Farm Family of the Year: Peggy & Campbell Cox, Sr. Family (Sponsor: Tipton Ford);
• Agriculture Pioneer: Stanley Jones – Belle Brook Farms (Sponsor: Heritage Land Bank);
• Agribusiness of the Year: EasTex Vet Clinic – James A. Weatherly, DVM (Sponsor: First Bank & Trust East Texas);
• Ag Educator of the Year: Ted Thompson - Ag. Teacher, Central Heights HS (Sponsor: Citizens 1st Bank).
Banquet tickets are $28 each or $300 per table of eight and are available now at the Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce, 2516 North St., or call 936-560-5533, or click here for the registration form.
The Nacogdoches Agribusiness committee consists of representatives from Nacogdoches County Farm Bureau, Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce, Nacogdoches Convention and Visitors Bureau, Nacogdoches Economic Development Corp., Texas AgriLife Extension Service, Cooperative Extension Program, Pineywoods RC&D, Stephen F. Austin State University - Agriculture Department and the Texas Forest Service.
The group has organized farm tours of the county for media and business representatives on Friday, April 4. Contact Jamie Sugg at 560-7711 for tour information.