Above: The Lee family’s dedication to medicine is in its third generation. Mallory Lee Collins (center) is a registered nurse while Megan and Matthew Lee are both third-year medical students.
“It’s our way of giving back to our community.”
That is how Nora Lee responds when asked about her long-time dedication to volunteering and serving on several area boards, including the Johnson City Community Health Center, where she has been on the board since 2005. As a matter of fact, everyone in Nora’s family has a servant’s heart.
With National Doctors’ Day around the corner, on March 30, the Washington-Unicoi-Johnson County Medical Alliance – a volunteer group of physician spouses who do health related good works in the area – would like to highlight a member’s medical family. Doctors’ Day was started in 1933 by a physician’s wife in Winder, Georgia. National Doctors’ Day is a day to celebrate the contribution of physicians who serve our country by caring for its citizens.
Nora married her high school sweetheart, Luke Lee, who practices as an emergency medicine physician. Dr. Luke Lee is also the son of a physician, the senior Dr. Lee, who was a general practitioner and surgeon in a small town in Southeast Tennessee. Luke grew up watching his father practice medicine with a deep care for his patients and serving others through several medical missions around the world. He was inspired to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a physician, too.
While her husband attended medical school and then residency, Nora obtained a master’s degree in Special Education and taught until she had her children. Nora calls Luke a “very caring and compassionate person, just like his father.”
The Lees have three children – Mallory, a registered nurse, and Matthew and Megan, both third-year medical students. The Lee children grew up, much like their father, witnessing compassion and service to patients in our community. It’s no wonder all three children have also devoted their lives to caring for the health of others.
The Lees learned early that a commitment to the practice of medicine requires sacrifice. Hospital shifts can be long, and the hours irregular. Medical families have to be flexible and the Lees celebrate holidays when they can all be together, regardless of the actual date. Celebrating Christmas a week early, or late was normal for the Lee kids, as were odd working hours, and as Nora says, “It’s all they ever knew.”
Today, Nora continues her volunteer work on boards and through the Medical Alliance, where she is a treasured member. Nora and Luke now have three beautiful grandsons and love spending time with them—another generation of medicine in the making?
When asked why she thinks her children are continuing the family legacy of caring for others, Nora said, “If a person has a passion to serve people, you have to encourage him or her to fulfill that passion.” Nora added, “It’s a lifelong career, you are always learning.”
On behalf of the Washington-Unicoi-Johnson County Medical Alliance, we thank the Lee family for serving their community and wish them, and every physician and medical family, a very Happy Doctors Day.