|Corrigan Times - Local News
Copyright 2013 - Polk County Publishing Company
Dr. Mike Shukan named Polk Countian of the Year
LIVINGSTON -- The Livingston- Polk County Chamber of Commerce held their annual banquet at the Livingston Junior High School. One of the many that will be honored is Dr. Mike Shukan. For many Polk Countians if you have needed to feed a cold, starve a fever, get rid of gall stones, have a physical to play high school football, or if you have attended a Piney Woods Players Production since 1981, odds are you saw Mike Shukan. Since his arrival in the community in 1981, Dr. Mike Shukan has played many roles. Primarily, he came to Livingston as a physician, but he has found time for many other activities. He has been on the sideline for virtually every Livingston High School football game since his arrival in the community and has been Livingston High School's sports doctor since 1981 — although he has recently sworn off lifting football players. He was the Polk County Health Offfi cer from 1982 to 1996 and Chief of Staff of the Polk County Hospital in 1986 and 1992 as well as Chief of Pharmacy and Therapeutics at Polk County Hospital from 1981 to 2001. Dr. Shukan was a UTMB teaching physican during the 1980s and for four years he and Dr. Huddleston commuted to Galveston together to treat Medicare patients. Shukan and his twin brother originally followed their father into the pharmacy business in New Jersey in 1963. "In my high school yearbook it says I wanted to be a pharmacist like my daddy," Shukan said. But after graduation when he found himself going from one bottle to another he soon found himself disenchanted with the work. Few people know the Shukan twins left the pharmacy business and opened up three kosherstyle fast food restaurants. Then one day Dr. Shukan's brother announced he was going to medical school in Mexico. "That was a tough year for me. The help I needed to replace him was too much, so I called him up and said, 'Tell me about Guadalajara'." "I was really scared. My brother had minored in Spanish, but I couldn't speak any Spanish — but none of the other foreign medical students could speak Spanish either. I sold our store and the two we had franchised and that put me through medical school." When Shukan came back to the United States he had to do a fi fth year of medical school in Newark, N.J. that is basically all the hands-on skills work that a senior medical school student would do. After a three-year residency in Edison, N.J., Shukan was board-certifi ed as a Family Practice physician. He was in solo practice in Livingston for 21 years and retired from practice in December 2001. He is married to Leonor and he has two sons, David who is a lawyer in California and Eric who is an aerospace engineer in Boston; and two stepchildren, Fatima Sauceda-Buegeño and Francisco "Pakirri" Sauceda who is attending Sam Houston State University and three grandchildren, Rachel, Josh and Giovanni. After retirement, Shukan devoted his energy to the Lions Club and the Boys and Girls Club. He has served as the master of ceremonies for the Miss Polk County Pageant for many years and appeared in 14 productions by the Piney Woods Players theater group. He has served as doctor for Camp Cho Yeh for seven years. He delivers food for Mannafest every year, helping ensure that elderly and shut-in residents of Polk County get a meal on Thanksgiving Day. Dr. Shukan has served as Vice President of the Boys and Girls Club since 2002. He participates in every fundraiser the Livingston Lions Club puts on and is the clubs past tail twister and past president. Dr. Shukan has been very active with the Livingston-Polk County Chamber of Commerce and has served two three-year commitments on the board of directors. In nominating Dr. Shukan for Polk Countian of the year, a long-time friend said, "If he is not directly involved with raising funds for a community project, he is supporting projects some way. He is always looking to see where is needed the most and gives his 200 percent to all that he does." "In conclusion, he has been a pharmacist, a mentor, a baseball coach, an actor, a physician, a master of a ceremonies, a friend and he makes the best ice cream in Livingston."