WARRENSBURG — After more than 31 years in the veterinarian profession, Lifetime Animal Center owner and veterinarian Dr. Chuck Barry received the Missouri Veterinary Medical Association Veterinarian of the Year award in January 2019.
The MVMA prefers to keep the winner of each year’s award a secret until the later part of the ceremony, with the exception being someone with a relationship to each year’s recipient.
The person chosen is then tasked with announcing the winner of the award at the ceremony.
“I did not know until the moment they announced it,” Barry said. “The entourage of people started coming in from the back of the room, I couldn’t see who they were and we were all waiting to see who it would turn out to be. I suddenly realized it was Diane Thompson from Warrensburg and I thought, ‘Oh my goodness.’”
County Clerk Diane Thompson was followed by Barry’s family as they made their way to the stage where Thompson spoke about Barry and announced he had been chosen as the recipient of the 2019 MVMA Vet of the Year award.
“I was shocked and humbled,” Barry said. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. You don’t get to be Veterinarian of the Year twice. It was emotional for me.”
Barry decided what his future career would be at a young age.
Growing up, he was always around animals such as cows, pigs, horses, dogs and cats.
It was during this time in his life that he met a mixed animal practice veterinarian who treated his family’s livestock and became fascinated with the veterinarian profession.
“I became really enchanted with a local veterinarian in Milan, Missouri, Dr. Dickson as I remember him,” Barry said. “I started focusing on that when I was in the fifth grade.”
Barry continued his path to becoming a veterinarian, graduating from the University of Missouri with a B.S. in agriculture in 1984 and his doctorate of veterinary medicine in 1987.
“As much as you can make a bargain with God, I made a bargain that I would be the best vet that I could ever be if he would open the doors,” Barry said. “By his grace, he did open the doors it seems.”
Barry worked for a veterinary practice for 10 years before February 1997 when Barry and his wife and business partner, Denise, opened Lifetime Animal Center.
In December 2018, the Lifetime Animal Center facility moved to their current location at 227 S.E. State Route 13.
“Many small businesses fail, in fact most of them do. When you open your own business, if you’re in veterinary medicine anyway, it’s like having six jobs that are full-time, but only one pays the rent,” Barry said.
Barry and Lifetime Animal Center were also the recipient of the Warrensburg Daily Star-Journal 2019 Best of the ‘Burg award in the veterinary clinic category.
“The community has been very welcoming, warm and supportive of our business and what we’ve tried to provide in the form of veterinary services,” Barry said. “I couldn’t dream of being anywhere else.”