Freedom opened its door in Winter of 1992. Peter had saved $4000, bought some equipment, a bike, and a table, and was working out of Peter Heffernan’s office in Waukesha. They were a good team and helped a lot of people. Peter decided to open an east side location as well. He went to a number of orthopedic doctors and asked if they would support him, and they did. Especially Dr. Mark Aschliman who sent 40 referrals in first year! The office was in the same building as the North Shore Library, across the hall from Dr. Dale Beugel.
During this time Peter was taking a lot of continuing education classes, and noticed Michael Karegeannes was in many of them. They worked together as lab partners for a week which solidified their relationship. Since Peter was limited to working during school hours to allow providing care for his son, he asked Mike if he wanted to moonlight after he finished working at St. Michael’s where he’d been working for the past 5 years. He accepted, and a great partnership began. At the same time, Mary Ann joined Freedom to help with office work and teach Pilates. She was a tremendous help, doing everything from scheduling appointments to cleaning, doing laundry, and helping treat patients.
Mike soon decided he wanted to work with Peter full time. He inquired if there was a partnership possibility available, and Peter said yes, happy to team up with someone younger who could keep Freedom going after he retired. Mike was phased in, and they began their 20 year partnership.
They then began the process of looking for new space. A client recommended someone in the commercial real estate business who directed them to the present Fox Point location. Mary Ann was already teaching Pilates, and Jill Wolf began. There was a growing Pilates cliental and physical therapy business. Gradually therapists began seeking them out, including Diane Ping, Jeff Verhagen, and Nina Olson. Freedom’s reputation as a place to receive top notch therapy grew, and persists until this day.
The name “Freedom” came to Peter after hearing Richie Havens sing the song of the same name. He felt the name brilliantly described what we offer patients, freedom to do what they cannot, move more freely, live with less pain, and expand their potential.
Peter and Mike formed a strong partnership, and through the years made many important decisions. They’ve emphasized the importance of sharing with their staff, especially the experience of working in an environment that encourages professional and personal growth. Peter has enjoyed seeing Freedom families, kids growing up, going to college, and then starting careers and families of their own. In summary, Peter feels proud to be part of a small but powerful business doing the right thing for the right reasons, helping people.