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Rehab celebrates 10 years

NATCHEZ — Despite several challenges, Kati Woodard knew Natchez Rehab and Sports Specialists would one day celebrate its 10th anniversary.

Natchez Rehab and Sports Specialists co-owners Kati Woodard and Heather Lewis are celebrating 10 years. (Devonte Demby / The Natchez Democrat)

Natchez Rehab and Sports Specialists co-owners Kati Woodard and Heather Lewis are celebrating 10 years. (Devonte Demby / The Natchez Democrat)

“God has been good,” Woodard said. “We have had 10 successful years.”

Woodard would later be joined by Heather Lewis in the business. Both own and operate the rehab center, which provides physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech language pathology and offers athletic training services to area schools.

Woodard said she always had the desire to become an athletic trainer, but all of that changed when she attended Mississippi State University.

“I went more into physical therapy,” she said. “I always wanted to help people and be around athletics. This is my way of still being able to help people and get involved.”

Woodard graduated from Mississippi State University in 1998 and received a master’s in physical therapy from University Medical Center in 2001.

But it wasn’t until March 2005 when Woodard opened Natchez Rehab and Sports Specialists, where the company started with minimal materials for rehab patients to use.

But they have found growth within the last 10 years.

Woodard once worked at Natchez Community Hospital prior to operating her own business.

“What led me to private practice was being able to make the decisions that best regarded my staff as well as our patients and clients,” Woodard said.

Lewis worked in the respiratory business as a sales person and office manager prior to joining Woodard five years ago.

The two sisters-in-law work together with Woodard handling the clinical part of the rehab center, while Lewis handles the business part of the center.

“We balance each other very well,” Woodard said.

Lewis said she enjoys coming to work, which makes her days go by smoothly.

“I enjoy the people that we work with. I enjoy being able to interact with the patients,” she said.

As the next 10 years approach, Woodard and Lewis said they hope to impact the community in various ways.

Lewis said she is looking forward to offering services that may not be established at the rehab center yet such as helping elderly people at home to stay active after leaving the rehab center.

But the biggest impact the rehab center holds dear is seeing its patients and clients return.

“We pride ourselves on being family friendly and being down to earth,” Woodard said.

Natchez Rehab and Sports Specialists is located on 55 Seargent S. Prentiss Drive, No.8, in the Tracetown Shopping Center.