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Four generations of chiropractors

An article I wrote for the Laurel Independent, published online here and here.


By Jessie Newburn

“Like father, like son,” some say. Though in the case of the McAuliffe’s four-generational lineage of chiropractors, it’s more like, “Like grandfather, like son, like two daughters and two sons, and then like two more sons, as well as two nieces and a nephew.”

Yes, if you counted that right, you’d see 10 members of one family have followed in the footsteps of Arthur McAuliffe Sr., in becoming chiropractors. That’s quite a lineage and quite a story for McAuliffe Chiropractic Office which, this year, celebrates its 30th year in Laurel.

Young Terence McAuliffe had been working in his dad’s chiropractic office located on Main Street in Columbia, Ill., for a few years when, after proposing to his wife (on St. Patrick’s Day, no less – he is of Irish descent and identifies as such), he felt the itch do his own thing.

A friend had encouraged them to come and stay with him while the newlyweds looked around for a place to set up shop, and within a month of their wedding, Terence and his new bride Rebecca packed up and drove to Maryland to see if they wanted to land here.

“We knew nothing about the area,” Terence said. “We’d get one of those grid-based map books people used before GPS, pick a grid and drive to it.” When they drove along Main Street in Laurel on one of their map-grid explorations, they immediately fell in love.

“We liked that the town had character and a sense of community to it,” he adds. The Laurel Lakes area had recently opened up, and the combination of Laurel’s charm plus the lake, nearby walking paths and plentiful parking made it easy for them to say “yes” to Laurel. That was 30 years and a doubling of office space, since, ago. McAuliffe Chiropractic Office. Following in the footsteps of Terence’s father and grandfather before him, has since become a long-established business and contributor to the health and wellness of the Laurel residents and the nearby community.

In short succession, Rebecca and Terence had five children in five years, including one set of twins. As their children grew, Rebecca, in particular, became quite involved in volunteering at their children’s schools, and coaching their kids’ soccer and field hockey teams, while still, somehow, finding time to support the business in various operational and management capacities, as she still does to this day.

Over the years, McAuliffe Chiropractic Office has held annual food drives to support the Laurel Advocacy & Referral Services (LARS) and the Elizabeth House with their holiday meals, collecting on average about 1,500 items a year. They coordinated with First Baptist Church of Laurel to collect shoes, coats and other items to donate to the Winter Shelter Program. They’ve run supply drives for the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter (BARCS), as well as personally fostered dogs through Pitties and Purrs Rescue. Terence has also served on the Laurel Lakes HOA for two decades.

walking their talk

With both a grandfather and a father in the business, plus a mother who was a dietician, Terence and his siblings grew up in what he calls “a chiropractic lifestyle,” which included positive thinking, giving thanks, getting some exercise in and eating well. Plus, a perk of being in the family, he said, “We all got adjusted once a week.”

“Chiropractors need to walk their talk and live a healthy lifestyle,” Terence adds. “Our profession’s approach is that the body doesn’t need any help, such as drugs and surgery; it just doesn’t need any interference.”

Terence and his team actively participate in community health events, such as the Walk with a Doc program with the Prince George’s County Seniors, where specialists in different fields walk with the seniors during their walking sessions and answer health-related questions they may have. As well, they have often volunteered at the P.G. County Senior Health Symposium where they helped with balance training, posture screenings and fall prevention. Attendees at Laurel’s Main Street Festival have probably seen them there doing health screenings, as well.

While those annual and short-term activities are nice, Terence’s commitment to community health is evident from the health talks offered at his office (nearly) every Tuesday for 25 years. Subjects such as dealing with neck pain, goal setting, shopping for healthy food preparation–the latter subject taught by one of Terence’s daughters who got her MBA in nutrition and education–have been offered.

And for as much as Terence has been helping others learn about ways to support their own health, he’s a sponge for learning himself, he became a board-certified Chiropractic Neurologist, a challenging and intense program from which about only 40% of chiropractors pass.

it’s all in the family

All five of his children worked at the office as young teens, answering phones, greeting clients, and learning basic office skills and how to engage professionally with others. Two of his sons have continued the family lineage of being chiropractors, both of them getting their start in his office. One son has since moved to Atlanta, Ga., where he works as a chiropractor, and the other has been working in the Laurel office for the past nine years.

One of Terence’s sisters, along with her daughter, now runs the chiropractic office originally established by his grandfather. One of his brothers established a chiropractic office in Gaithersburg, and another one of his sisters, along with her husband, established a chiropractic office in Ellicott City. As well, he has another niece and nephew who are also chiropractors.

A few years ago, Terence encouraged the president of Life University, where he and others in his family got their chiropractic training, to create a Generations Wall with plaques dedicated to families with multiple members in the profession. With eleven biological family members in the profession, the McAulliffes most certainly got a family plaque, but Terence says this phenomenon of chiropractic families is a bit of “a thing.” He knows one family with 50 members in the field (between both the husband and wife’s families) and another with 51!

Though his dad died about a decade ago and didn’t live to see all his grandchildren go on to follow in his footsteps, Terence (now Terence, Sr. with a Terence, Jr., in their brood) adds, “I get happy tears when I think of my dad’s influence on me and our family. He, and my grandfather, would be happy to see our whole family thriving.”

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