Drs. John Simms and Nadine Oakley - 1984

Apr 1974

John C. Simms, VMD, MS, graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine and practiced at Farrell Veterinary Clinic in Tioga County.

Oct 1975

Dr. Simms purchased a practice from Dr. David Stringfellow.  The practice had previously been run out of Dr. Stringfellow’s home on Middle Spring Road in Shippensburg. Dr. Stringfellow later worked for the Pennsylvania and United States Departments of Agriculture, then went into academia.

For the first 3 weeks, Dr. Simms operated the practice out of the Wyncoops Motel.  He then moved it to the basement of his rented Prince Street home.


Dr. Simms purchased a 114-acre farm  from Dana Ile and practiced out of the summer kitchen of the old brick farm house. The farm was on unpaved Burnt Mill Road.


Nadine Oakley, VMD, graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine and married Dr. Simms.  She received her first Ford truck as a graduation present, and she and Dr. Simms drove to Iowa to get her a Royal 8 vet pack for their honeymoon. Dr. Oakley became the first woman to practice large animal medicine in Shippensburg.


The clinic was designed on a napkin at the Toll Gate Restaurant.  Gawin Morrow constructed it in two phases. First, an old cinder block outbuilding was converted into a unique large animal hospital and surgery suite.


Pennsylvania State University graduate David Wolfgang, VMD, arrived and stayed until 1993.  He was the Field Studies Director at the Pennsylvania State Extension Service until 2016.


The small animal hospital was built on top of the large animal hospital.


Dr. Simms and Dr. Oakley were profiled by Roger Caras on the national television program 20/20 in a segment called “The Country Vets.”


BMVC hosted a centennial birthday party for the Burnt Mill Bridge that crosses over Conodoguinet Creek.


Dr. Juliette Hanson arrived, staying until 2000.

Apr 2009

John Simms and other veterinarians blogged about what it meant to them to be vets.   Project Pennsylvania Tales From the Trenches

Aug 2011

Ben Rhodes, DVM,  a 2009 Washington State University graduate, joined the practice.

Oct 2011

Burnt Mill Veterinary Center went online at www.burntmillvet.com.

Oct 2013

Dr. Rhodes bought the practice from Drs. Simms and Oakley almost 38 years after they purchased it.

Apr 2014

Drs. Simms and Oakley retired.  Both continue to be active PVMA members.



Jun 2014

Levi Smith, DVM, joined the practice, leaving in Aug 2016 to pursue a specialty in embryo transfer.



Aug 2017

Little Blue Truck semi-retired. 

Blueberry, the 1993 Ford Ranger, has served BMVC reliably, trucking from one farm to the next for a good long time.  While Blueberry is Dr. Rhodes' favorite truck, he can't quite haul all the high tech (i.e. heavy) gear the vets like to take along.  He still has his vet box, just waiting for one of those new, big, fancy trucks to show how unreliable they can be.

Dec 2018

Joanne Trez retired at the end of 2018 after more than 20 years as Burnt Mill's receptionist. She has been busy riding her horse Max, playing with her 2 granddaughters, and volunteering in the community. Congratulations, Joanne!

Sept 2021

The small animal clinic on Burnt Mill Road closed September 10, 2021.  Dr. Rhodes continues a mobile practice.