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Longtime local veterinarian retiring

July 19, 2012

Dr. Carl Lind of Bishop Veterinary Hospital will be feted Saturday, July 28 with an appreciation party (as opposed to a retirement party) to celebrate his contributions to the community. File photo

July 30 will be Dr. Carl Lind’s last day at Bishop Veterinary Hospital.
His plans for the future reflect the man close friends like Craig London know. He’s going to watch his grandsons play Bronco football, help kids learn to read and, with his wife Carol, travel with Alaska, Canada and New Orleans high on the itinerary.
London and his family will be throwing Lind a party July 28. It’s not a retirement party, they insist; it’s an appreciation party with a maximum of good times and a minimum of formality. At first, they weren’t even sure Lind would show up, According to Aleta London, it took some convincing. “Craig told him we were going to throw the party whether he came or not. So, he’d better show up.”
For those who know Lind superficially, all this should be a strong clue there’s more to the vet, the school board member, the Junior Livestock Auction proxy buyer than is readily apparent. “He’s one of the most humane, kind-hearted, compassionate people I know,” said London. “He knows people, he cares about people and their animals, he understands the complexity of life and he tries to heel. A lot of people don’t know how much he’s done for this community.”
Lind moved to Bishop when he was 13 and went to work for veterinarian Dr. Joe Hird in high school. “He was my mentor, my hero,” said Lind. Hird was also the reason Lind chose to go to the University of California at Davis and study veterinarian medicine.
After college, the service and two-and-a-half years practicing in Los Altos and Menlo Park, Lind got a call from Hird and came back to Bishop. In 1970 he worked side-by-side with Hird and bought the practice in June 1971 when his mentor went into semi-retirement. Dr. Tom Talbot joined the practice, then London himself. Over the last 40 years, Lind started satellite clinics in Mammoth, Tonopah and Lone Pine, as well as maintaining the clinic Hird had started in Ridgecrest. He added onto the original building and kept on mentoring his young employees, 4-H children and Boy Scouts.
“The philosophy (of Bishop Veterinary Hospital) came straight from Hird and Carl,” said London. “We were available 24/7; we did the best we could to stay on top of the medicine.”
“We always allowed people to make payments,” said Nona Davis, the hospital’s now retired office manager who worked with Lind for 30 years. “Things can happen and people aren’t always prepared for the cost.
“Carl was kind, compassionate. He never sugar coated things … When he had to euthanize an animal, especially the ones he’d known since they were born, the client would tear up and so would Carl.”
Lind doesn’t measure his success in the physical growth of the vet operation, he measures it by the young people he’s helped. “My proudest accomplishments,” he said, “are the high school students who worked at the clinic, here and in Tonopah, Lone Pine. Over the years, I mentored 10 to 15 kids who eventually became vets. Some of the kids are now doctors, some are teachers. I feel like I had a positive influence on those young people.”
London was one of those young people. “I know Carl in different ways,” he said. “In the ’70s, we (Rock Creek Pack Station) took him and his family and friends on pack trips. He liked having a good time, he loved those trips. He loves life in general.” Lind had very much the impact on London that Hird had on the him. “I thought he knew everything,” remembers London. “He told me what I needed to do (to get into vet school) and provided moral support.”
Lind continued his mentoring, for 40 years. One of the more recent doctors to join the practice is Nicole Nyburg, another one of Lind’s mentorees.
“I’m blessed,” he said. “Bishop is a special place, I feel like I want to pay the community back, or try to.”
That pretty much sums up Lind’s life; what he’s received from Bishop, from Hird, he’s turned around and given back.
That list of things he’s done for the community London refers to is fairly extensive. The start-dates are all in the mid- to late 1970s. He didn’t stick his toe in projects; he jumped straight in.
In 1976, Bob Tanner approached him for help with the relatively young Mule Days. He wanted Lind to be show chairman. “I went from nothing,” Lind laughs, “to show chairman. Back then, the show was just Saturday afternoon and evening and Sunday afternoon. It was simpler then. We sat down Friday afternoon and put the thing together, wrote up the rules for the show.”
“There are a lot of people responsible for the success of Mule Days,” said Lind. “I had a vision and could get things organized and I wasn’t afraid to try something new. There was a great group of people involved and we all had that shared vision. We just kept adding things.” He mentions adding cowboy dressage, a unique concept that incorporates both disciplines.
Then there’s Lind’s 26 years on, first, the Bishop High School District board, later the board of the unified district. That, too, was around 1976. He went off the board for a few years when his stepdaughter went to work at Bishop High as a teacher. According to London, Lind understands the value of a strong education.
“We have to take care of all the kids,” Lind said. “I’m not worried about my grandkids, I’m worried about the English as a Second Language kids, the kids from families with economic hardships. That’s what we have to work at.”
Lind is a pit bull when it comes to those students without the privileges he’s been able to provide his family. At the June board meeting, he was adamant about making sure the new School Loop, a system designed to give parents access to a students’ progress and assignments through the internet, somehow was inclusive of families without computer access. In light of current and future budget cuts, he requested that the board and administrators begin the discussion of how to allocate limited funds, to, perhaps, concentrate on the younger grades to ensure that everyone had the basics.
This past weekend’s Junior Livestock Auction is another Lind legacy. Lind has been the official proxy buyer since 1971. According to London, Lind spends weeks, if not months, in advance of the show on the phone, making sure he’s got commitments and orders lined up. Richard Reel has worked as auctioneer for the past 11 years, with a front-row seat to Lind’s system. “He’ll line up 50 or 60 people with their maximum bid. Some of the orders are kid-specific. Sometimes people are splitting a steer or swine. He’s got it all organized and does an amazing job. It’s pretty hectic. I thought my job was hard, but then I look down at Carl.”
The proxy job is more than just putting prime meat on local tables. Lind’s process keeps the bidding going; it helps regulate the prices so the kids get a good return on their investment. “My role is to just keep bidding until I run out of money. I don’t want to see the bidding stop,” he said. “I want it to keep going up until the price is right for the kid.”
The 2012 auction was the last for Lind. “There are a lot of good people to step in,” he said.
But, he’ll stay on the school board, at least through his current term, until 2014. He’s not ready to give up Mule Days either, at least not yet. In fact, he’s really not retiring, he’s just stepping away from the veterinary practice to do everything else he loves, including that trip to New Orleans.
Dinner tickets to Lind’s appreciation party are available at several locations around the Owens Valley. The cost is $10 for adults and $5 for children under 12. Tickets must be purchased by Monday, July 23. The celebration starts at 5 p.m. at the Charles Brown Auditorium on the Tri-County Fairgrounds. For more information, call the Bishop Chamber at (760) 873-8405.

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