Before he was released from physical therapy at Brown County Health & Living the week before Christmas, Dr. James Brester was cautioned to slow down, by his doctors and his clients. And for the most part, he has, keeping limited hours at his Bean Blossom Animal Clinic and no longer doing surgeries.
Brester, 74, knew it would be a challenge, changing the work habits he’d honed over the past 50 years in practice, many of them as the county’s only veterinarian.
On March 7, some of his loyal clients launched a GoFundMe campaign to help ease the transition.
In less than a week, the “Bestowment for Brester” had raised more than $11,000 — more than a third of the way to the $30,000 goal.
The average amount raised in that time period is $1,000, said Bartlett Jackson, regional communications manager for GoFundMe.
Campaign organizer Sherry Richhart wrote that “Brester is the most kind, caring, and giving person I have had the privilege of knowing. Those who know him best know he is a man of few words, who never asks for anything, and never expects something in return for his many generosities.”
She noted that Brester “barely charges enough to break even,” and worries that cutting back on his hours will impact his family.
“Funds raised in this campaign will go to Brester and his family,” the page reads. “The funds will help with any past and future medical expenses as well as any loss of income.”
Brester continues to work as much as he is able, but had to close the clinic for a half a day last week because of problems with his arthritis and the circulation in his feet, his daughter and clinic employee Anna Brester Gartner posted on the “Support Bean Blossom Animal Clinic” Facebook page.
“It would mean so much if we could all give something back to him as he has given us all so much in his many years of service,” Richhart wrote.
The fundraising page can be found at gofundme.com/bestowment-for-brester.
Anyone who does not have Internet access or does not feel comfortable donating online can take cash donations to Country Living Pet Center next door to the Bean Blossom Animal Clinic. It’s open Tuesdays through Saturdays. Anyone with questions can call Richhart at the shop at 812-988-7444 or home at 812-597-5418. All the proceeds will go to Brester, she said.
“Doc, don’t get angry at us,” Richhart said. “Just feel blessed and learn to receive as freely as you have given to us for the past 50 years.”