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New voices: A Big Park Council 'medical drama'

John Wichert

John Wichert

It is with humility that I’m introducing myself as the new president of the Big Park Council (BPC), also known as the Big Park Regional Coordinating Council (BPRCC).

The Village of Oak Creek and the Big Park Council owe Immediate Past President Camille Cox a HUGE thank you for her service to the community and her three years as president of the BPC. Camille will remain an active member of BPC in her role as immediate past president.

Two and a half years ago I was wrapping up my 39-year career as a practicing obstetrician-gynecologist and previous associate professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Michigan State University. It was not unusual in my career to have to walk into a hospital in the middle of the night and see a woman, sometimes unknown to me, quickly assess her situation, and make a medical or surgical recommendation. Honestly, I don’t miss doing that, but I learned a lot.

Hence, it didn’t take long after we moved to the VOC from Oregon for me to recognize that the wheels that make the Big Park/Village of Oak Creek function were unique. Why the VOC wasn’t really a town at all! I couldn’t visit the mayor’s office or city council. I learned that “our government” is Yavapai County, seated 60 miles away in Prescott, with some regional offices in Cottonwood. Since 1997 the BPC has filled that void, bridging the needs of Big Park/VOC residents with Yavapai County along with District 3 County Supervisor Donna Michaels, Ph.D.

Last October, I learned that BPC was in need of new representatives. At the coaxing of friends, I volunteered to be an alternate for my neighborhood, which soon morphed into my election as President. That’s when I had to again apply my rapid assessment skills.

Consider the following vignette:

A young woman (BPC) is lying in the Emergency Department complaining of severe pain. She’s alert, intelligent and communicates wonderfully. She states: “I was fine until an hour ago when I wanted to take a hike and then drive into Sedona.” She looks healthy, but she’s in too much pain to move, and her circulatory system is collapsing, with roads backed up and trails overrun with OHVs. Ultrasound shows a mass of increasing STRs resulting in diminished neighborhood function.

“What should we do?”, I ask the bright intern (VP Colleen Hinds).

“She needs a rapid infusion of new blood,” Dr. Hinds responds.

“Is there plenty of new blood in the blood bank?” I inquire of the house supervisor (BPC Secretary Mary Pope), who, of course, knows the status of everything in the hospital.

“There is plenty of new blood available,” she reports, “But the lab tech (BPC Treasurer Patty Reski) reports the new blood won’t come out of the blood bank!”

“Huh?” I reply…

This is where YOU, the reader comes onto the set! Longstanding Big Park/VOC residents, part-time residents, new residents, young residents (around here that’s any age under 50), YOU need to become involved in the BPC. YOU are the “new blood” that the BPC needs!

Why should YOU become involved in the Big Park Council?

Because the BPC is YOUR voice to Yavapai County and other entities that determine the future of the Big Park/VOC. Many of those active in BPC have contributed for 20 years or more! Our No. 1 task this year will be to broaden the ways our residents can become involved in the work of the council.

I’ve never lost a patient…and I don’t want the Big Park Council to be the first. Please contact us at and let’s have a conversation!

John Wichert is the newly elected president of the Big Park Council.

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