Anthony Gonzales (left) with Andrew Hagopian (right) owner of Cleary's Shoes.

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WOOD RIVER - Maryville's Anthony Gonzales of Cleary's Shoes and Boots in Wood River, has become a certified pedorthist.

Gonzales found out the news recently after passing the final stage - the pedorthist exam.

A certified pedorthist is a healthcare professional specifically trained in comprehensive foot care using therapeutic foot ware and supportive orthotic devices for the foot. A pedorthist helps the patient prevent or reduce painful or disabling conditions of the foot or ankle.

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Gonzales shoe store is located at 48 E. Ferguson Ave. in Wood River.

"Growing up, I always wanted to be a paramedic/firefighter," Gonzales said. "At 18, my grandfather, Jim Hanlon, advised me to get a job or go to school. I chose to work while going to school. I never thought in 10 years, I'd still be here, but I absolutely love what I do. I forward to helping current/new clientele and cannot wait to see what the future holds for our store."

The certified pedorthist requirements are one year of schooling, 14-day clinical, 500 hours of clinical experience and 500 hours of retail experience and a national board exam.

Cleary’s Shoes and Boots owner Andrew Hagopian was proud of Gonzales and said: “I have been through the program myself and understand the time and effort takes to get to that point. It is good to have a practice, the needs for diabetes and all the customers who need it. It is a good thing for us to have here for sure.”

"Being a pedorthist means a ton to me because I can make a difference in people's lives every day," Gonzales said.

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