A ribbon cutting and open house celebrated the grand opening of Four Square Veterinary Care at 309 East Main Street. Owner Linlei Ward, her staff, and family welcomed guests during the October 2, event.
Kingstree Mayor Ricky Burrows kicked off the celebration by welcoming the young doctor back home. "I know Linlei is taking over a great practice from you (Dr. Cottingham) and she is going to do a good job," said Burrows. "This is the future of Kingstree - our young people coming back." Williamsburg HomeTown Chamber Director Leslee Spivey echoed the mayor's sentiments. "We are so thrilled to have Linlei here at Dr. Cottingham's office," said Spivey. "It's carrying on a tradition and what more can I say but to have a nice young woman in this office."
At the ribbon cutting, Ward thanked Dr. Cottingham for entrusting her with his legacy. "I am very blessed and honored that he would entrust and allow me to take over where he left off," said Ward. "And hopefully it will continue to grow and prosper as he has through the years." Cottingham began his veterinary practice in 1961, when it was time to retire he coaxed the Georgia graduate into coming home. Ward had been working with a veterinary practice in Greenwood when she decided to make the move. Cottingham said Ward's decision to come home was a perfect fit. "I think she will do really well with it," said Cottingham. "I am very confident in her. She will be a great asset to the veterinary profession."
Ward said though she had not planned to return to her roots, the decision has proven to be a good one. "I'm glad to come back to such a good community. You really don't realize how great a place is till you leave and see all the problems they have there."
She received her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Georgia in 2012. The name "Four Square Veterinary Care" was conceived from an unlikely association. "Basically, I had to come up with something really quickly," said Ward. "So when I was going to Greenwood to get my stuff, everything I passed said Veterinary Hospital, Veterinary Care, Animal Hospital, things like that. I thought three square meals a day is good and four square is even better. It sounded good, had a nice ring to it, and it stuck."
Long time staff member Terrill Carraway, along with groomer Jennifer Baker join Ward's practice. During her comments, Ward also recognized Jimmy Coker owner of animal Hospital of Kingstree who is working with Ward to build a community emergency group. Four Square is open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Wednesday and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.