Board-Certified Orthopedic Surgeon
When Dr. Steve Emery came to Cody to interview as an orthopedic surgeon over 25 years ago, he resolved to take the job before he even touched down on the ground.
“The thing about Wyoming is, if you look at the badlands and you like it, you’re going to love the mountains,” Dr. Emery says. “The deal was done just flying over. I’d already decided to take the job before I landed.”
Born and raised in Austin Texas, Dr. Emery earned his M.D. from the University of Texas Medical Center in Galveston and completed postgraduate work while serving in the Army. He worked in aviation medicine at Fort Rucker in Alabama where his two children were born to his wife Bonnie.
Dr. Emery always felt most drawn to orthopedic medicine, and after some coaxing from Bonnie, decided to pursue an orthopedic surgery residency. Through the Army, he completed most of his residency at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, but also spent six months at University of Oklahoma in Oklahoma City. There he met Dr. Frank Schmidt and his wife Dr. Caety Schmidt, a connection that would eventually lead him to practice orthopedics in Cody.
After residency, Dr. Emery and his family lived in Stuttgart, Germany for two years where he worked as the Chief of Orthopedics at the second largest hospital in the country. He then returned to the United States to earn a Spine Fellowship at the Alamo Bone & Joint Clinic. Dr. Emery and his wife then began looking for the ideal place to settle down.
“Bonnie and I decided we’d either live by the ocean and vacation in the mountains or vice versa so I put out feelers for a job search,” Dr. Emery says. “I had already taken a call to maybe go to the Oregon coast when Frank called one day and asked if I was the same guy he had worked with in Oklahoma City. He says, ‘why don’t you come up to Cody?’ And I says, okay.”
From the beginning, Dr. Emery and Bonnie fell in love with Cody, and their appreciation for their mountain home only continues to grow stronger.
“The friendliness of the people in Cody just immediately blew us away,” Dr. Emery says. “We’ve loved it. The love of this place just gets deeper every year we’re here. There has never been a time when we says, ‘did we make the right choice?’ … We have loved Cody since the moment we moved here.”
The undaunted spirit of the people of Cody continues to inspire Dr. Emery.
“The individuality of the people here is fascinating. You see 80-year-olds riding horses that aren’t broke, and 60-year-olds doing things that in most places 30-and 40-year-olds would do,” Dr. Emery says. “All the way down, you’ve got a younger thinking population than you would expect, or that I’ve ever encountered anywhere.”
Cody also sets the stage for Dr. Emery to practice his own passions.
“I love fly fishing, hunting, and martial arts,” Dr. Emery says. “They all go together. Fly fishing and hunting during the day and martial arts if I can fit it into the evening.”
Dr. Emery and Bonnie together own a martial arts studio in Cody, where their daughter Alison now teaches. “Bonnie and I have been doing martial arts together since college in San Marcos and just never stopped,” says Dr. Emery.
As a cornerstone of the Cody medical community, Dr. Emery is proud of its reputation and results.
“I’ve been in big hospitals and little hospitals both in the Army and out and this is one of the most innovative and well-rounded medical communities that I’ve ever been in,” Dr. Emery says. “And it’s been that way since we started.”
Perhaps the key to building such a medical community is caretaker dedication that reaches far beyond that of a typical vocation.
“Orthopedic medicine has to be a calling. It’s not just a job,” Dr. Emery emphasizes. “It’s very fulfilling to be able to put people back into a functional lifestyle, and I see that as a gift that has been given to me by God. It is something that has to be passed on to the patients I’m entrusted with. I hope to be able to do this until I’m too old to do it.”
And there is no place Dr. Emery would rather practice orthopedic surgery.
“In Cody, you’re living with some people who were the original pioneers or at least immediate descendants of. The people in Cody write their own history because this is a frontier.”
Fellow at the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons
Fellow at the American College of Surgeons
Member of Christian Medical & Dental Association,
Member of Western Orthopedic Association
Member of North American Spine Society
Member of Wyoming Medical Society
Member of Cody Chamber of Commerce