In July, 1968 a boyishly handsome physician from Pittsburgh, PA walked through the door of the Texas ob/gyn practice where I worked. Dr. Ron Paul’s reputation as a well-trained, compassionate doctor spread like wildfire throughout the county. The number of his patients increased by a third, then doubled. Not only did his patients love him, his staff did too. He made each of us feel we worked with him, not for him.
Dr. Paul was not only a great doctor, but also an excellent teacher. In three months I learned more as his private scrub nurse in surgery and deliveries than I’d gleaned in a year from his predecessor. I went to the hospital for many of our patients’ deliveries and cried at the beauty of every single one. Always an encourager, he also expanded my role as office nurse to include patient educator and practice manager.
As the only obstetrician/gynecologist in our area, for three years Ron took call 24/7 and never left Lake Jackson. He and Carol lived in a modest house and put in a pool so they could enjoy what little recreational time he had with their children. He worked hard every day, and whether striding down the office halls, up flights of hospital stairs (we seldom took the elevator) or into a delivery room, keeping pace with Dr. Paul was anything but a southern stroll.
He didn’t limit my instruction to medicine and surgery, however. While he drove us in his blue pickup truck between the office and the hospital, he broadened my understanding of government, economics, and politics. I recall as though it was yesterday when he began to teach me the real meaning of inflation. “Donna, one day bread will cost a dollar a loaf.” Preposterous! I laughed out loud. It was 1969, and a loaf of bread was 35 cents.
Even as a specialist, Dr. Paul’s fees were very reasonable. Most patients had great insurance coverage; we still took good care of the ones who didn’t. Had I not been privy to his lively discussions with other surgeons in the break room, I doubt I’d understood the changes taking place in healthcare as a result of government’s intervention. I didn’t know the word lobby meant anything other than a pretty place in a fancy hotel. It was sort of fun standing in line, chatting with friends at a gas pump at six o’clock in the morning before the station’s supply ‘ran out.’ The fun part didn’t last very long.
Ron always read a lot. Serious books. Newsletters with frightening headlines. And one evening in 1973, I stood in his living room while he told me he was running for Congress. I cried for three straight days. It scared me to death to think that he might actually win and leave his medical practice. Even then, Ron led by example rather than force, and his passion for liberty was contagious. Thus, I became the Original Ron Paul Groupie. I walked beside him on our Wednesday afternoons off, knocked on doors and handed out push cards. He’d shake someone’s hand and quietly, but confidently say, “Hi, I’m Ron Paul, and I’m running for Congress.” I hosted my first political fund-raiser—a coffee—and attended dozens more events where Ron spread the news of his liberty-based beliefs. The rallies and events grew and grew. After the conclusion of a huge one in Houston, Ron called me up on stage to meet the honored guest who came to lend his support, Governor Ronald Reagan! In January, I went to Washington where I watched Ronald Earnest Paul sworn in to Congress.
Back then, I saved pennies because I couldn’t afford to buy gold or even junk silver. Ron encouraged me to prepare for tough times by taking other small, positive steps despite a modest income. He introduced me to books, seminars, and lectures by economists like Ludwig von Mises, Hans Sennholz, and Henry Hazlitt. Over the years, I met Leonard Reed, Murray Rothbard, and Dr. Gary North, then influential writers Tom Woods, Judge Andrew Napolitano, and dear Lew Rockwell. Through Ron, I also met and understood the warnings of immigrants who lived and fled the horrors of fiat currencies and government oppression.
And, the rest, as they say, is history, except for a few personal observations. Despite all the years of cameras, clamor, signs, banners, marches, money bombs, interviews, and accolades, Ron Paul is neither complacent nor conceited. He doesn’t take one follower in a crowd for granted, doesn’t expect one vote until he has explained his stance, treats every penny of a contribution and each dollar you and I pay in taxes as if it were the very last of his own.
I abhor the times he’s criticized for a No vote which results in some saying he is uncaring. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Congressman Paul stands on principled tenets, and cannot be enticed off his straight path of dedication to our constitution and individual liberty. Always reading and studying, Ron Paul continues to write and educate others with great passion about the worthy principles of our republic, the dangers and injustices of a large, ever-intrusive government, the wrong and waste of plunging in and leaving bases around the world, and the wiles of the Federal Reserve. Thrilled by all supporters, he’s joyful over those thoughtful young college students in Ann Arbor, MI who first chanted “End the Fed.”
Perhaps because I’m a slow learner, or maybe because I missed working with him every day, or the fact that I hated to see him treated with such disrespect, it took me years to understand that education is the key to political action, then change.
Recently, I had a tough time after a few unkind remarks surfaced when Ron mentioned my book on Facebook. Although painfully obvious to me those persons hadn’t read my story, their remarks cut me to the quick—until I remembered what the good doctor often told me ages ago. “Don’t let it get you down; it’s just part of their disease.” Despite constant vilifying by the media, he doesn’t back away from espousing the truths he holds dear, and remarkably, remains even-tempered and positive. Through all the years I’ve known him, Ron Paul stands tall and committed to freedom and liberty in his uniquely unassertive and humble way. I had the privilege of witnessing his last swearing in to Congress, and then seeing Rand sworn in to the Senate the same morning.
Ron takes his faith, his health, and his role as head of his family very seriously. His love for Carol and their children, and their children, is always evident. Just as he took his Hippocratic Oath to heart, he believes he is responsible for each of his actions as a citizen and a Congressman. He is a champion for us.
I have no doubt the legacy of Ron Paul is historic, and I for one, burst with pride at knowing him. Happy birthday, Ron. With love, from the Original Ron Paul Groupie.