Charles Martin, 334/844-3698



AUBURN -- In the days when families are becoming smaller yet more detached, John Prellwitz is about to graduate from the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine in front of eight special people -- his wife and seven children.

"The best part has been their support and love each day," said Prellwitz, a native of Oshkosh, Wis. "They were as excited as I was about being in veterinary school."

The crew consists of John, his wife Susie, and children John Jr., 10; Joey, 8; Joshua, 7; Sarah, 5; Emily, 3; Catherine 2; and Jacob, 1.

Although Prellwitz says his schedule was difficult, he attributes much of his success to his wife.

"She has handled the bulk of the burden and she is really an incredible woman," he said. "Balancing the events in our children's lives with my school work was tough sometimes. It's almost hard to remember what they looked like during some periods."

In the spring quarter, Prellwitz and his family moved to Fremont, Wis.,where he began working with the dairy practice of Burr Oak Veterinary Services. Students at the College of Veterinary Medicine are required to spend their final quarter with a practicing veterinarian. He will graduate on Tuesday (June 8).

"Ever since I was a kid, I have known I wanted to do this," he said. "I can remember a conversation with my grandmother when I was 10 years old. She had asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, and I told her a veterinarian."

In 1986, he earned a zoology degree and an Army commission from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. After more than seven years in the military and rising to the rank of captain, he requested an honorable discharge to pursue his dream of becoming a veterinarian.

Prellwitz is also very involved in church work. At Auburn, he taught Bible classes and helped local families meet their basic and spiritual needs. He plans to continue these endeavors in Wisconsin once his family gets settled.

"I enjoy preparing spiritual lessons and am very grateful for our blessings," he said. "My wife and children have been wonderful. They show you who you are by bringing out your best and occasionally your worst. They make you really evaluate yourself."

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