The Roanoker - January/February 2018 - VL50
hen athletic trainer and physical therapist, Fred Murko, founded Virginia Prosthetics in Roanoke in 1966, his goal was
to fulfill a need for accessible quality
care with the latest technology among amputees
and patients with limb or spinal disabilities. He had
been Director of Physical Therapy at the Woodrow
Wilson Rehabilitation Center in Fishersville, Virginia,
and helped draft a 1958 law which guaranteed patient access to competent therapists and effective
Fifty years later, the corporate office is still at the
same address on Williamson Road, and the company's CEO is Fred Murko's son-in-law, Doug Call.
Doug, a certified prosthetist who joined the company in 1985, bought the practice in 1992 when
there were seven employees. Now there are seven
fully staffed clinics and seven offices throughout
southwest Virginia, with 59 employees, providing
custom prostheses (artificial limbs) and orthoses
(braces and supports).
"We've grown organically," says Doug. "Physicians and therapists call us and ask for what they
need, or call attention to an underserved area.
We've opened clinics in areas where we see a need."
The company's growth and longevity at their
Williamson Road address is also supported by Roanoke's status as a medical hub, health care partnerships both local and international and a skilled
local talent pool.
There's no lack of long-lived businesses in the
Roanoke Valley. While many of these companies do
essentially the same work they started doing 100
plus years ago, they've kept the doors open by responding to changes in technology, social customs
and the economy with agility and vision. Here are
a few examples:
Oakey's Funeral Service & Crematory was founded by cabinet and coffin maker John Oakey, in
Salem, Virginia in 1866. As coffin makers typically
"undertook" burials, Oakey began focusing his efforts on this aspect of service. Since then, the com-
VIRGINIA PROSTHETICS HAS GROWN IMMENSELY SINCE ITS 1966 BEGINNINGS.
50 | 2018 VALLEY LIFE MAGAZINE
VIRGINIA PROSTHETICS: COURTESY OF VIRGINIA PROSTHETICS