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Physical therapist Jason Krumbeck joins Tribal Health

By B.L. Azure

Physical therapist Jason Krumbeck has joined the Tribal Health staff and is based in the St. Ignatius THHS Clinic. (B.L. Azure photo) Physical therapist Jason Krumbeck has joined the Tribal Health staff and is based in the St. Ignatius THHS Clinic. (B.L. Azure photo)

ST. IGNATIUS — The St. Ignatius Tribal Health and Human Services Department Clinic has a new physical therapist on staff. Thirty-one-year-old Jason Krumbeck, who resides in Missoula, replaces Marcia St. Goddard. He began work for THHS, Monday, August 19.

Krumbeck works four days in St. Ignatius and one in Polson. He will see patients Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday at St. Ignatius in the former daycare building just west of the Salish Pend d’Oreille Longhouse, and Wednesday in the Polson THHS Clinic. Physical therapy assistant Josh Brown sees patients in Polson the days Krumbeck is not there.

Krumbeck graduated from Missoula Sentinel High School in 1999. He then attended Gonzaga University in Spokane where he graduated in 2003 with a history degree and a minor in music.

Following graduation from Gonzaga, Krumbeck worked in the private sector in Nashville, Tenn. where he ventured to pursue his muse as a musician.

“I soon found out that I didn’t like working in the office environment I was in, so I decided to change professions,” Krumbeck said. “I considered flying (becoming a pilot) and music as the options I wanted to pursue. I decided on music, that’s why I went to Nashville in the first place. I wanted to play music and experience a different part of the country. I worked during the day and played music with jazz and rock groups in the evenings.”

However, music gigs didn’t put much food on the table. The struggling musician and disillusioned office worker soon turned his sights towards a different career but it was not his other earlier considered option of becoming a pilot.

“I researched career possibilities again and came to realize that physical therapy was a good match for me and my interests,” Krumbeck said. After cementing his career change decision, he enrolled at the University of Washington in Seattle where he earned a physical therapy degree in 2011. During school and following graduation he interned at medical facilities in Great Falls, Spokane and Seattle.

Krumbeck also interned in the Republic of Moldova, the poorest country in Europe, which is sandwiched between Ukraine and Romania. It is an area more known for the Carpathian Mountains, the home territory of Count Vlad, aka Dracula. It was part of the Soviet Union until 1991 when it established itself as a republic following the dissolution of the Soviet Union. It was an interesting experience filled with political intrigue and civil unrest.

“Moldovans hate the Russians; they saw them as occupiers and were glad when the Russians left,” he said. However the Moldova Communist Party remained a major political faction in the country. While Krumbeck was in Moldova in 2009, the political and civil unrest came to a head with the April elections that the Communist Party won with just under 50 percent of the vote over several split opposition factions. That sparked widespread civil unrest partly because of alleged vote fraud by the Communists. In August 2009 the split factions formed a coalition that pushed the Communists out of power. The political intrigue continues but the Communists are a waning factor as the young republic struggles to establish a Western based economy.

Krumbeck is glad to have that experience but was also glad to be back in the United States where he could pursue the physical therapy degree and the ideals of community service instilled in him at Gonzaga.

“At Gonzaga they push hard on the idea of service to the community and fellow citizens,” Krumbeck said. “I am happy to be working here with those who don’t have access to healthcare options that are in the larger communities.”

Although Krumbeck’s present physical therapy digs are temporary, he is nonetheless impressed with the equipment he has to work with. “There is very good equipment here,” he said. “It is the best I have worked with so far.”

And the patients aren’t too bad either.

“People who come to physical therapy are motivated to get better,” he said. “Every patient I’ve seen so far comes with the attitude that they want to do what it takes to heal themselves. That is the type of people I like to work with.”

Jason and wife Erika reside in Missoula and are parents to 18-month-old daughter, Annika.

The Physical Therapy Program will move back to the St. Ignatius THHS Clinic when phase-one of the construction and remodeling of the present clinic is completed this coming June.

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