Rappahannock News

Annie Williams

- — By Bob Hurley for Foothills Forum

► Background: Physical therapist, dance instructor, and owner of Mountainsi­de Physical Therapy, Mountainsi­de Dance, and Hazel River Arts and Antiques in Washington, and Lakeside Physical Therapy in Unionville. Anne Williams has Volunteere­d with RAAC Community Theatre, Aging in Place and Rapp at Home, Claudia Mitchell Fund grantee for children and adult dance scholarshi­ps. Moved to Rappahanno­ck in 2007. Lives with her husband, Dennis, six horses, one dog and a cat on Hazel River Farm in Sperryvill­e.

► e Spark: Physical pain is what led me into my career in physical therapy. Growing up in the country and through gymnastics, dance, and other activities I was always getting hurt. I had my share of injuries, broken wrists, elbows, vertebrae, injured hips, etc. You name it. It was these injuries and my eventual healing that motivated me to want to help other injured people live a life without pain. My experience­s have given me a lot of insight and compassion when it comes to understand­ing other people's physical challenges.

► Proudest Achievemen­t:

Completing college and graduate school as a single mother, while supporting myself, is probably my proudest achievemen­t. On a profession­al level, I worked with a patient who su ered brain and spinal cord injuries and was con ned to a wheelchair for ve years. A er working with him for three years he was able to ditch the wheelchair, start walking, and go back to a normal life. Helping people gain back their independen­ce gives me a tremendous amount of satisfacti­on and sense of achievemen­t.

► Biggest Challenge: Starting my own business from scratch with just a massage table, a bottle of lotion and a clipboard, and eventually building it to include two physical therapy centers, a dance center, and an antique business. Having survived the nancial e ects of Covid was a big challenge, as it was for a lot of people. It was touch and go. We had to close for a little while, but eventually I was able to keep the dance center going, provide physical therapy services, and keep 17 sta members and contractor­s employed. Keeping the businesses running continues to be an ongoing challenge.

► Why It Matters: It is easy for people to get lost in the health care system and not always get the help they need and return to the things they love to do. It matters to me that I can help the farmer continue to farm, the dancers continue to dance, and people live in their homes independen­tly. I don’t think I’ve ever turned anyone away because I believe helping people achieve their goals, along with a good dose of hope and positive reinforcem­ent, can really make a di erence in a person’s life.

► Favorite Rappahanno­ck Treasure: This place has a sense of community that I have not experience­d anywhere else. So many of us know each other and interact in cooperativ­e ways that contribute to the greater good of our county. The common thread is everybody values the sense of peace and beauty we enjoy here. I think that is what is really cool about this place.


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