620 Old West Central Street, Franklin, MA 02038 • 508-528-6100 • www.ProPTinc.com
Coach,Neighbor,Friend A Tribute to Rob
From the very first time I met Rob, I knew that Dave was right. Rob challenged me to define not just the values of Professional Physical Therapy, but my own values as well. Rob is the type of guy who tells you what you need to hear and not what you want to hear, but he does it in a way that makes you feel like a friend. He has an abundance of care and compassion. You only have to talk to him for a minute to feel like you’re his lifelong friend. He is, to use Mr. Rogers’ favorite word, a neighbor. That neighborly attitude isn’t bound by street, state, or country. It’s how Rob treats everybody. My conversations with Rob made me rethink my entire approach to relationships. He taught me communication and listening skills. He inspired me to be a better person and encouraged me to never stop growing. His motto is, “Life is precious. Don’t waste a drop.” There is now a heartbreaking urgency associated with that motto, as Rob was recently diagnosed with terminal stomach cancer, the same cancer that took the life of Mr. Rogers. When I heard the news, I was crushed. It’s a tragedy that a man so full of life and so good to those around him would be taken before his time. I’ve spent many nights shedding tears over it. What I try to keep in mind is that Rob did more good in his life than most of us ever will, and his impact will be felt long after he’s gone. Rob and Mr. Rogers both lived the values they preached. They weren’t shouters, trying to force people to buy into some phony system for success. Instead, they led by example and shared their passion (and compassion) with others. Above all, they valued human interaction and the power of kindness to change the world. I will miss Rob dearly. I’m lucky to have known him and will keep him in my mind forever. There are no words that can properly pay tribute to the inspiration he’s been to me. All I can do is live the principles he taught me in our brief time together. That is my promise to him — one I vow never intend to break.
“All of us have special ones who have loved us into being.” –Fred Rogers
The world is far too complicated for anyone to figure out on their own. We all need mentors, coaches, loved ones, and friends to guide us through the often messy journey that is life. I’m guessing many of you found a childhood mentor on your TV screen as I did. His name was Fred Rogers but was known to all as Mr. Rogers. He was a friendly man who preached kindness and human connection above all else. He also taught people the value of self-worth and the uniqueness of each and every person on earth. “In a way, you’ve already won in this world,” he once said, “because you’re the only one who can be you.”
Given the rapturous response to “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” the new documentary about Mr. Rogers, it’s clear that his teachings are just as relevant today as ever. And it’s not just kids who can benefit from his worldview and approach. The need for teachers and coaches doesn’t go away when we become adults. In fact, we may need them just as much, but we often need to seek them out on our own. I had that experience just over a year ago. The practice was doing well and I was at a solid point in my life, but I felt directionless. “What do I do next?” I wondered. I asked this question to Dave, a person who’s mentored me in business for a long time, and he immediately had an answer.
Thank you for everything, Rob. You will always be my neighbor.
– Dr. Stacey Raybuck Schatz
“I know just the guy for you to talk to,” Dave told me. “His name is Rob, and he is amazing.”
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