I’d better say this right off the bat – I’ve been friends with Drew Sommerville since the age of three. In fact, I’m proud to say I consider him a best friend. Drew and I are both from a small town, so we literally grew up together. After high school, we even chose to room together at Illinois State University. I’m not sure there’s many people out there who can claim to know Drew better.
And truthfully, the whole point of this article is to voice just how proud I am of my friend. For as far back as I can remember, Drew always said he wanted to be an eye surgeon. Lots of kids say things like that to impress, but Drew could not have been more serious. Back in our home town, we played together as children, then, as we got older, joined the same sports teams and generally hung out. But even as we had fun, laughed, acted goofy, and clowned around, Drew always studied hard and worked to achieve the best grades possible.
But even as much as Drew studied in high school, I hadn’t seen anything yet. For the rest of my life, I will remember our very first day together at college. From day one, Drew hit the books harder than anyone I’ve seen before or since. The man knew what he wanted, and he did not falter, he did not flinch, and he never lost focus. That sort of sustained effort over four years is incredibly admirable, but for Drew, it was just the beginning. He still had medical school to go, as well as an internship, a residency, and a fellowship. By the time it was said and done, Drew powered through over ten years of studies and training to get to where he is today.
At the same time, though, he never lost his sense of fun. Drew and I had many laughs during college, enjoyed each other’s company, and made lots of mutual friends. But you rarely caught Drew taking a night off. Weekends were no less important than weeknights when it came to his studies. He knew what it took to reach his goal. Most of us in college barely thought about the following week, but Drew had a plan spanning decades.
And now here we are, nearly twenty years after we graduated from high school, and Drew has exceeded even his own expectations. He is a renowned ophthalmologist and published expert in his field. He is part of a successful eye clinic, gives talks across the nation, and even serves as a consultant.
Drew sacrificed much to achieve his dream, but his wife, Heather, helped him through the entire ordeal. In fact, they are high school sweethearts, and you cannot talk about one without mentioning the other. They are a true team, have been since that first day of college, and I have no doubt that Drew’s success is largely due to Heather’s love, support, and understanding. It’s not easy to date a medical student, it’s even less easy to be married to one. Doctors are constantly on call, deal with an incredible amount of pressure, and must be ready to perform at peak levels all the time – a doctor’s spouse feels much of that stress, I’m sure. But it’s obvious they are as much in love as the day they married. They have beautiful children. They are amazing parents. When you hear people say that some couples are destined to be together, I very much believe that to be true in the case of Drew and Heather.
So wouldn’t you think after all that work, after all the success, Drew might have a bit of an ego? Don’t you think he might remind all of his old high school friends that he lived up to his words, that he did what he set out to do, and that his bank account probably makes ours look like a piggy bank? No. Drew has always been humble, he’s always served a higher power, and he’s always been held to a high moral and ethical standard by his own fantastic parents.
Drew Sommerville is, as he has always been, an honest, fair, compassionate man. It truly seems like the more success he enjoys, the more humility he projects. Even though he’s worked his tail off for decades to be where he is today, I’m certain he still considers himself blessed and gets on his knees everyday to offer thanks.
I admire Dr. Drew Sommerville on every level possible – as a man, a father, a husband, a friend, a son, and as a doctor. He has inspired me my entire life, and he continues to do so to this day.
If you would like to visit Dr. Drew Sommerville, you can find his workplace HERE.
Dr. Drew Sommerville
(image taken from Talley Eye Care website)