PUEBLO, Colo. (KKTV) - The Pueblo community is defending a doctor that was pictured in "blackface" while attending a Halloween party back in medical school.
The photo reportedly appeared in the same yearbook where Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam was allegedly in a controversial picture that included a person in the white robes of the Ku Klux Klan and another person in blackface.
The doctor's name is Dr. Steven Nafziger. He is the vice president of medical services at Parkview Medical Center. A former patient of his told 11 News that Nafziger was one of the kindest men she ever met, and this one photo shouldn't define him when he has done so much good for the community.
Kari Sandusky said she was a patient of his for around 20 years. She stopped being a patient when Nafziger accepted a position at Parkview. Sandusky said the doctor always treated everyone with respect and isn't surprised the community is defending him.
"It was just such a quick judgment to be made on such a great man who has done so much for our community and I don't even know how many patients he's had through the years but I bet you 99.9 percent of them loved him," Sandusky said.
The local NAACP branch referred to a statement their national president made last week about the Virginia governor's photo in the same yearbook: "Black face in any manner is always racist and never okay."
The local branch doesn't think Nafziger should lose his job over this photo.
Parkview Medical Center in Pueblo sent out a statement after the surfaced. The statement is as follows:
"Parkview Medical Center has no formal comment on the discovery of a nearly four-decade old photograph of Dr. Steven Nafziger, vice president of medical services, dressed and performing as one of the Supremes at a Halloween party during medical school.
"Dr. Nafziger’s service to Pueblo, including his medical residency, his time as an outstanding primary care physician, and his tenure with Parkview Medical Center is without reproach.
"Parkview would like to have the last 35 years of Dr. Nafziger’s life and his outstanding service and commitment to our community speak for itself."