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Hometown Hero: Dr. Charles Mirabile

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PRINCETON, W.Va. (WVVA) - Dr. Charles Mirabile spent nearly 40 years caring for the community.

Most recently, he worked on the front lines in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

Mirabile began his medical career in 1982 in Mercer County.

He said growing up in rural McDowell County inspired him to a pursue a career in medicine.

 "We didn't receive much primary medical care there was a quote company unquote doctor because it was a US steel community, who made house calls so when you got sick you called the company doctor eventually made it around for a house call," said Mirabile. "I just thought that was really interesting and anybody who knows me knows that from the earliest stage i always said I was going to be a doctor."

After studying at West Virginia University and completing residency at Wake Forest, Dr. Mirabile started practicing medicine in Mercer County as a primary care physician. A few years later, gerontology peaked his interest.

"I did not get a lot of training and experience in geriatrics and nursing home work but I always had an interest in it and curiosity about it, so as I said when I was offered the opportunity to become the medical director at Princeton Health Care center, I decided to go ahead and pursue that and see what nursing home work really was like," said Mirabile.

During the height of the pandemic, Dr. Mirabile worked in three different nursing homes in Mercer County.

He said the pandemic presented challenges for this type of work.

"When you have an outbreak of an infectious disease like COVID-19 that requires isolation of the specific residents you really often don't have the physical ability because most nursing home rooms are semi private rooms and it's hard to do a very strict isolation," said Dr. Mirabile.

Roger Topping, the current Administrator of the Mercer County Health Department, is a former colleague of Mirabile's. He said pandemic challenges did not slow Mirabile down.

"He was right there deep in the middle of it at Princeton Health Care Center trying his very best to save those people who contracted COVID," said Topping. "Charlie may have been there 5, 6, 7, days a week. Our staff and residents were truly blessed that he was there and cared enough about them that he was constantly watching out and looking out for their health."

Mirabile didn't just fight COVID-19 as a physician, he also fought it as a patient.

While he won that fight, the coronavirus infection led to his retirement.

"I had a long hospital stay about two and a half months was on the ventilator for about six weeks, uh following that I just decided it was probably time," said Mirabile.

Topping said Dr. Mirabile's passion for caring for the elderly in the community, both before and during the pandemic, makes is what makes Dr. Mirabile a hometown hero.

"It's hard to think Dr. Mirabile hasn't been a hometown hero long before this," said Topping.

Mirabile, however, would disagree.

"I don't consider myself a hometown hero, I mean like I said, I've always wanted to be a doctor since I was a little boy it was just something  I wanted to do and to me, it's a job," said Mirabile.

That humility and the passion for caring for the community is what makes Dr. Charles Mirabile a hometown hero.

Now that Mirabile has retired he said he enjoys gardening and helping his wife with her charity "Conquering Chiari."

If you know someone you believe goes above and beyond or just has a huge heart and does great things for the community, email hometownhero@wvva.com with your contact information and theirs too, to nominate them for Hometown Hero.

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Maria Sellers

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