HARLINGEN — Dr. Charles Mild recalls a favorite moment that encouraged him to practice here.

“There were a variety of things that brought me to the Valley,” said Mild, cardiologist at Valley Baptist Medical Center.

“The story that I like to tell is I was offered a job in the Valley Diagnostic Medical & Surgical Clinic, and they gave my daughter Cortney a bear,” he said. “After that it was, ‘Dad, let’s go to the place where they gave me the bear.’ She was about 4 or 5.”

Since Mild took up residence here in 1989, he has served the community in numerous capacities. While having his own private practice at Heart and Peripheral Vascular Consultants, he has also served on the Physician Advisory Board at Valley Baptist. His affiliation with Valley Baptist also includes being vice chief of staff and medical director of the catheterization lab. He was recently promoted to the level of clinical professor of medicine at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.

From the small town of Belvidere, Illinois, Mild ran the distance in search of his passion. He knew he wanted to be a surgeon, but that required a five-year residency. So he opted instead for internal medicine, which required only a three-year residency.

“I saw a residency program that I liked a lot at the University of Texas at Houston,” he said. “The main reason I liked it was they put their residents in helicopters to treat people at the scenes for heart attacks and whatever else internal medicine residents do.”

He found the experience exciting at first. However, as he became more involved in internal medicine, he realized it wasn’t as “procedure oriented” as he wanted. He completed the internal medicine residency but then looked into cardiology.

“I looked at cardiology and there were lots of procedures in cardiology,” he said. “I was interested in the hemodynamics and the flow and the interactions of a variety of factors in making the heart work, the physics of fluid dynamics.”

More specifically, he found the inner workings of the heart most intriguing.

“It’s mechanical, it’s electrical, and there’s the plumbing in the blood vessels,” he said. “You see the heart pump, you feel the pulse, you can listen to it. It’s a moving structure. I basically was intrigued by anything that moves.”

Dr. Charles Mild, cardiologist at Valley Baptist Medical Center, celebrates as he crosses the finish line at the Monterrey, Mexico, Ironman triathlon, where he finished 1st place in his age group. Courtesy Photo

Ultimately, he did a three-year cardiology fellowship in Albuquerque, New Mexico, which means he spent six years in residency instead of the five he had tried to avoid. He’d found his true passion in the sciences.

Moving is what it’s all about when it comes to a healthy heart. That’s why Mild practices what he preaches to his patients about getting enough exercise.

“I like to run, bike and swim,” he said. “That’s something you can do almost every day here in the Valley. I’ve done several marathons, a couple of half Ironmen. Being physically active and having a good diet, that’s what I tell my patients.”