CALIFORNIA CITY – Dr. Thillaiampalam Sri was feted for his many years of service to California City and surrounding communities Oct. 15.
The East Kern Health Care District formally dedicated their building at 9278 North Loop Blvd. as the T. Sri M.D. Medical Building to honor his years of practice in the city. The East Kern Health Care District was established in 1977 to serve the East Kern communities and provides property management for four medical facilities in California City. A board resolution was actually passed in March, but the logistics of getting the plaque and timing right, delayed the ceremony.
“One of the staff had to remind me that he has been here in four days for 40 years,” said District President Shirley Heathman. “Dr. Sri has been steadfast during that whole time and serving a couple of other positions including with our mobile clinic.”
The honor was prompted in part by comments from the public to the district.
“People were saying we need to name a street after Dr. Sri, name this (other thing) after Dr. Sri,” said Heathman. “We kind thought those things felt like what you do that’s after he’s gone - we wanted to do something here and now.”
Sri first came to California in 1978 and began working for the Los Angeles County hospital system in Lancaster. While still working in Lancaster, he began providing medical services in California City two days a week. He also travelled to Johannesburg to offer medical services there for many years.
“As time went on, I realized I really liked my patients in California City and expanded my hours and services,” said Sri. “This Unexpected Journey of 40 years has taught me a great deal about my patients and myself. I have seen many of my patients through most trying moments of their lives, and have done my best to ease their fears and bring comfort. As the years have passed, I have seen many of my patients pass on and realized what wonderful friends had left my life.
“In 40 years, I have served sometimes three or four generations of the same family. Following their lives through the normal passage of time. The children I treated, when I began to practice here in California City have now children and grandchildren of their own, and I can still treat them.
“The most important gift that I received in 40 years is the kindness of the people in this community. When I needed anything for patients or my practice it was unselfishly given. When I went through a very difficult time in my life, the outpouring of love and support was overwhelming. I did not expect such a loving kindness. Even now, I am deeply touched by this recognition of my continuing service to the families and friends in California City. Although California city was not my first choice for practice, it is my last. I have found great joy and fulfilment looking after my patients and friends.”
Sri added he was not yet sure when he would retire.
“If I retired today, I don’t know what I would do,” he said. “I find golf to be boring. So, I want you to know that as long as I can stand on my feet and think clearly and cogently, I will continue to care for you. I look forward to continuing to serve this community as long as I can.”
Following Sri’s comments, several of his patients offered thanks for his service to the community, many saying they had been coming to see him for more than 20 years. Staff members also expressed admiration and respect for him.