February 21, 2018

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From the Navy to Medicine, Dr. Mark Eakes Pursuing His Dream in Granite Falls

Dr. Mark Eakes, ACMC-Granite Falls, Family MedicineAfter more than 20 years in the Navy, family medicine physician Dr. Mark Eakes finally has the opportunity to pursue his dream of being a doctor.

“I went into the Navy in 1982 and met my wife Debbie after moving to San Diego to begin my Naval career. Over eight years, we had five coast-to-coast moves, and we knew one day we wanted to settle down in an area like Granite Falls.  It took us awhile, but we’ve finally done it,” Dr. Eakes said, laughing.

After he completed his Navy career in 2006, Dr. Eakes attended medical school at Eastern Virginia Medical School and, knowing he wanted to practice in a smaller town, he pursued a master in public health in Norfolk, Virginia.  Dr. Eakes even spent some time in the Congo training before completing his residency at Portsmouth Family Medicine.

Setting up His Family Medicine Practice at ACMC in Granite Falls

Dr. Eakes first heard about ACMC after starting his family medicine residency program. He began to put his name out there to find some place where he’d be able to have a full-scale family medicine practice, including OB and geriatrics. In 2011 he and his family visited Granite Falls to learn more about ACMC and the community.

“Being in the Navy, you learn to adapt to new areas quickly.  My biggest question was whether or not the community would be a good fit for my family. I already had a pretty good idea that ACMC was the type of place I wanted to set up my practice. During our visit, we fell in love with Granite Falls. After returning to Virginia, I signed the papers, becoming a new doctor with ACMC,” he said.

Dr. Eakes is happily settling into his new role as Granite Falls’ newest family medicine physician. He’s excited to establish a practice where he’ll be able to care for his patients and their families for years to come.

“I want to practice full-service family medicine, where you really get to know your patients. I like that continuity of care. Being here will enable me to do a little bit of everything when it comes to caring for my patients,” he said.  “I want to deliver babies and watch them grow up in our community. I want to treat their parents and their grandparents. It’s wonderful to be part of a place where I’ll see my patients around town and become a part of their lives.”

Making Minnesota Home

“We haven’t been here long, but it already feels like home. My kids and wife love the area.  We’re doing things we never could have done in the places we’ve lived in the past—and we’ve lived in many different areas. The kids are already involved with 4-H, we have chickens and my daughter has decided she wants a horse. My wife is excited to set up her first garden here, and we’re even thinking about getting goats, a pig and a cow or two,” Dr. Eakes said. “Eventually I hope to start some wood working projects and maybe even restore an old car or tractor.  But there’s plenty of time for that.”

For now Dr. Eakes’ family is getting used to the area.  He and his wife have seven kids. Three are grown, and four made the move to Minnesota, including his oldest son and his new wife. Last August they bought a small farmstead near Sacred Heart. Dr. Eakes and his family couldn’t be happier for this opportunity to become part of the community and to make the Granite Falls area their new home.