Since he was in kindergarten, Daryl Wiley wanted to be a doctor. He never stopped talking about it all through his primary school years and once even dressed the part on career day.
"My mama still jokes about it to this day," Dr. Wiley said.
Since 1991, Dr. Wiley has practiced Family Medicine on Fluker Street in Thomson. He also has shared his profession, allowing students to work alongside him. That dedication and enthusiasm earned Dr. Wiley a prestigious award recently from Georgia Academy of Family Physicians -- the Family Medicine Educator of the Year Award.
"The award is given to a deserving member who has been a leader in academic, community and professional affairs, along with making an outstanding contribution to the profession or the community," GAFP literature says.
Nominations for the annual award came from Dr. Wiley's students. The nominee must have a minimum of 75 hours spent in clinical and lecture teaching skills, one-on-one bedside teaching skills, small group teaching activities, academic credentials and community involvement.
"It was a very nice honor," Dr. Wiley said. "I was very humbled. I don't do awards. I'm grateful to God and my wife. But it's the students that really deserve it."
For the past 14 years, Dr. Wiley has served as a community faculty member with Medical College of Georgia, with students assigned to him for their required Family Medicine Clerkship and subinternship in Family Medicine. More than 200 students have completed their rotations with him.
"I enjoy being around the students," he said. "It gives them the opportunity to learn in a nonthreatening, relaxed environment. ... The students keep you sharp with all the questions they ask. I feel like I get a lot more out of it than I give to them."
But his students disagree, according to nomination letters.
"I doubt I will ever be shown a better example of the doctor that I aspire to be," one student wrote. "The patient interactions that Dr. Wiley has, the resultant relationships that he forms with his patients, and the heartfelt love that they all have for him is truly inspiring."
Dr. Wiley said he loves his patients, too, and even prays with them.
"It's a great vocation. I get a lot of pats on the back, which never hurts. Today, I received a cake, some hot peppers, some peppered sauce. They know what I like," he said. "We have an awesome group of people in Thomson. All the patients are so nice to me, my staff and the students."
Perhaps his success as a mentor lies in his memories of being a medical student. In fact, Dr. Wiley credits his time spent on rotation with Dr. Patrick Barmore in Thomson years ago as his inspiration. Dr. Barmore was a recipient of the Family Medicine Educator of the Year Award in 1986, according to the GAFP Web site.
"The relationship Dr. Barmore had with me, I try to model with my students," he said. "It's more of a peer relationship rather than instructional."
Dr. Wiley also credits his staff, saying "they really love people and make sure everybody is taken care of as well as can be."
Dr. Wiley enjoys "hunting anything that moves," is a golfer, and leads music at the Church of Christ in Lincolnton.
He also is a great fan of his family. Dr. Wiley was unable to attend the GAFP banquet Nov. 13 to accept his award because he wanted to go to his son Carson's football game.
"It was potentially his last game, because he's a senior," he said. "But they won, and so it ended up being his next-to-the-last game."
Dr. Wiley is married to Laurie, and they have three children, Brooke, Carson and Ashton.