Growing up with a father who was a physician helped inspire John Jaeger into a medical career. Physical therapy provides Jaeger the ability to help patients on their road to recovery, whether they are a young child injured in a sport, a middle-aged dad working on his golf swing, or a senior who’s improving their mobility.
“For me, it’s being able to say to somebody, this is what I’m seeing,” said Jaeger, owner of Point Forward Physical Therapy. “You can fix this, and we can help you. When my patients tell me ‘you helped me’ I always say to them, ‘no, you fixed you.’ I just told them what to do.”
For many years, Jaeger’s business was housed within a health club in the Stevens Point area. In 2019, he felt the desire to find his own building and expand the business beyond what limited space the health club could offer.
“We like to see how our patients move, using high-speed cameras and technology to help us do that. And in the former location, we didn’t have the room to do that effectively.”
“One night, I was riding my bike home from work and saw the for-sale sign on this building. We were doing a walk-through of the building just a few hours later. I knew at that point that the building might be special but needed some work to get it to what we needed.”
Jaeger purchased the building on a land contract and began the process of renovating it. But he wanted to refinance the building, and that’s when Dale Sankey from Peoples entered the picture. Sankey helped Jaeger with refinancing the purchase of the building.
“Then the pandemic hit.”
Jaeger began the nail-biting process of waiting to see if his business would be deemed essential. “Ultimately, we were. We were one of the very few that stayed open through the initial shut-down. But our patient volumes dropped significantly. We saw lots of things shift in our industry because we’re normally very hands-on with patients. We started doing telehealth visits, the first time in my career for that.”
Sankey helped Jaeger through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan application process.
“To be able to see the work that we did to help this business to succeed is an example of how the PPP loans filled a tremendous need,” said Sankey, assistant vice president of commercial banking. “Knowing you’ve made a significant difference in John, his family’s life, and his business and employees, it’s a tremendous blessing. And it’s based on a relationship that we have rather than just being transactional.”
Jaeger agrees. “It’s been a blessing because it bought us the time we needed.”
Jaeger says he’s thankful for the actions of Sankey and Peoples State Bank. “I’m used to a big bank experience, but I don’t enjoy the impersonality of it. You know, you get somebody to answer the phone and they don’t know you, and they transfer you to someone else who doesn’t know you either. I like to talk to people and know who I’m talking to. I view Dale’s involvement and Peoples State Bank to be integral and key to where we are today.”
The PPP loans Peoples’ commercial team processed helped small- and mid-size businesses, such as Point Forward Physical Therapy, keep nearly 12,000 employees on the payroll at those companies.