Veterans Smile Day
On November 11, 2015 dentists in Whatcom and Skagit Counties participated in the Veterans Smile Day program. The program was started a few years ago to facilitate free dental care for veterans in need and to bring awareness to veterans’ needs.
The Mount Baker District Dental Society (MBDDS) was able to partner in the event with a local community health organization, Whatcom Alliance for Healthcare Advancement (WAHA). WAHA coordinated patient care by recruiting patients from the local veterans services office and elsewhere within the community and scheduling the patients with participating dentists.
Dr. Aaron Lemperes of Bellingham saw 27 patients and provided more than $8,000 in free care to veterans in need. Services provided included adult prophies, exams, radiographs, composite and amalgam restorations, and extractions. “The patients that we served ranged from World War II veterans to recently returned veterans. Each man and woman had a story to tell that touched us deeply. The toll that their sacrifices had made on their lives and families was clear. Many of the younger veterans were now in school seeking degrees in many different fields. It was humbling and rewarding for us to be able to serve these brave men and women. We plan to participate next year again,” stated Dr. Lemperes.
Dr. Peter Kim of Mount Vernon saw seven patients for numerous extractions, providing more than $7,700 in donated care. Dr. Kim said, “All of the gentlemen were very appreciative. One had all of his remaining upper teeth extracted, and we were able to refer him to Amy Varshock, a denturist at Denture Essentials, who is helping him to get a denture. He stated that getting a denture would ‘be a dream.’ It was truly gratifying to treat these deserving individuals and we plan to participate again next year.”
Other dentists participating in Veterans Smile Day or providing follow up care for those treated on Veterans Day included Dr. Richard Simcock and Dr. Matthew Carlson of Mount Vernon, Dr. Darcie Morris and Dr. Noah Frerichs of Mount Vernon, and Dr. Darcie Galbraith, Dr. Mark Fairbanks, Dr. Terra Schmidt, and Dr. Mike Jorgenson of Bellingham. There was further support from Shofu, who donated dental materials, and Woods Coffee, who donated coffee and pastries for the veterans being treated.
The MBDDS plans to participate in the Veterans Smile Day program again this year. For questions about organizing your own Veterans Smile Day event this year, you may contact Aaron Lemperes at firstname.lastname@example.org.