David Dew and his daughter, Jessica Thompson at the Corner Drug in Lake City
David Dew and his daughter, Jessica Thompson, at South College's coating ceremony
Anyone who walks into David Dew's business can expect a friendly greeting.
"I try to make a point, if you come here once, the next time you come in that door I'm going to call you by your name," said the long-time pharmacist.
He runs "The Corner Drug" in Lake City, nearly 70 years after his father, Carl Dew, originally took over the business.
"He always said, if the Lord let him get up and go to work six days a week, he'd get up and go to church on Sunday."
The duo worked together behind the counter for decades, before the elder Dew passed away last year. Now, as David starts to consider retirement, he is preparing a third generation pharmacist to fill his role.
Dew's daughter, Jessica Thompson, has been working off and on at the pharmacy since high school.
"I like the interaction with people; we're like a big family here," she said. We know all the people, we know all customers. It's just exciting to know you're giving back to the community."
Now married and with two children, Thompson realized she wasn't using her English literature degree from the University of Tennessee in her work. Instead of a new job, she opted for a new degree.
"I was like, 'why am I working here and not being a pharmacist?' It just didn't really make sense," she laughed.
Thompson enrolled into South College's Pharmacy School, with her family's full support. It took hard work and dedication to complete the coursework required before the doctoral program even began.
"I was just impressed she put that much hard work to get that far," her father said. "And stayed with it, and very dedicated. It was no easy task."
South College celebrates new doctoral candidates with a ceremony, where students are given their traditional white coats. During Jessica's ceremony, her father joined her on stage for the official presentation.
"I was very proud, I almost cried," Dew said with a smile.
His daughter adds, "It meant a whole lot to me and a whole lot to him. It was neat, just made it feel official."
As Thompson works toward her new degree, she will continue to help out at the family pharmacy. Someday, it will be hers to carry on the family tradition.
"It's an honor to be included in the same group of professionals that my dad and grandfather were," she said.
"This is a small town. People want to have a relationship with people that they trust to take care of their medications."