Why this doctor and his family calls Yakima home…

Dr. Casey Prather first arrived in Yakima during medical school rotations 2009. Casey is from Kentucky, and he really wanted to stay close to home. But rotations are assigned by lottery. He came in last, and out west he went.

“We met a couple weeks after Casey came here,” says Nicole, a Yakima native who grew up in the Barge-Chestnut neighborhood and graduated from Eisenhower High School. “We were engaged in three months and got married less than a year from when we met.”

When you know, you know.

But the rotation ended, and residency awaited back east, in Lancaster, Pa. “When Casey finished his residency in Pennsylvania he got a job at one of the hospitals there,” says Nicole. “We stayed about two-and-a-half years, but I really wanted to come back to Yakima. Casey wanted to come back, too. All my friends are here, I grew up here. We both wanted to get back to friends and the outdoors and the food, the wineries.”

When you know, you know.

“It was kind of a quick thing,” she continues. “My best friend got married last summer, and we came back for the wedding. Casey noticed there was a position open at Virginia Mason Memorial hospital, and I said, ‘Yeah, let’s give it a shot!’ “

Long story short, the Prathers are back (as a family of three with daughter Genevieve, age 5). They moved into their West Valley home on Jan. 20, 2018. Casey started work as an anesthesiologist at VMM nine days later. “It felt like home right away,” Nicole says.

“Since we’ve been here we’ve done so many things with our friends. I’m at the stage now where most of my friends are having babies, so it’s an exciting time to be back. A lot of our friends are working and starting companies. People in Yakima are so friendly. We came back and were immediately connected, which was a far cry from Pennsylvania — we didn’t know anybody.

“I told Casey that when people move here we have to be ones to reach out and make them feel welcome.

“We met. We fell in love. We got married. We had a baby. He got a job. We came home.”

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