Gary honors doctors for city contributions - September 8, 2016

Courtesy of Post-Tribune • September 8, 2016

By Gregory Tejeda

Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson insists there was no politics or personal favoritism involved in the choice of a Merrillville gynecologist as one of two individuals to receive the Gary Legends honor.

But she also admits she was pleased to be able to present the award – given monthly to local residents with lifelong contributions to the Gary community – to Dr. Deborah McCullough, a Gary resident who reached several “firsts” in her career as a gynecologist for Northwest Indiana based in nearby Merrillville.

“It’s good that I don’t have a say in these ‘Gary Legends’ honors because I’d definitely be biased in her favor,” the mayor said Tuesday, explaining that McCullough was doctor who handled the delivery of her daughter, Jordan.

That isn’t even McCullough’s only political birth – Councilwoman Ragen Hatcher, D-at large, said she used the doctor to handle the delivery of her two daughters.

“She delivered my two children, and I’m sure I was not the best patient,” Hatcher said.

McCullough has been a doctor for more than 35 years. She was born in Gary and is a graduate of Roosevelt High School and the Indiana University School of Medicine.

“She has been a wonderful example for getting more girls involved in the medical profession,” Freeman-Wilson said.

Also receiving the Gary Legends award during Tuesday’s Common Council meeting was Dr. Michael McGee, a graduate of Lew Wallace High School and Purdue University who later received a master’s degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago and attended medical school at Chicago’s Rush Medical College.

His career took him to Atlanta, but personal reasons brought him back to Gary in 2005 when he took a position at Methodist Hospital Northlake where he is a medical staff division chief and where his mother had been a nurse for more than 30 years.

He also was founder of the NWI P.O.P. Foundation, which attempts to reduce levels of violence involving teenagers.

Freeman-Wilson said McGee and McCullough have one thing in common.

“Both of them had talents they could have taken anywhere in the world, but they chose to bring them to Gary,” she said. “We are better off as a result.”

Gregory Tejeda is a freelance reporter for the Post-Tribune.