Going to the dentist isn’t something people typically look forward to, however, one special group of people recently jumped at the chance to visit the Dental Care Center of South Kansas City in Martin City! Here’s why:
On November 22nd, the office hosted a “Free Dental Day” for military veterans. The idea was the brainchild of Office Manager, Ginger Stiver when the office was searching for a unique way to help local veterans.
“Our team has donated food and money in the past, but we knew there was so much more we could do,” said Ginger.
They learned about an organization called, Friends in Service of Heroes (FISH), a non-profit who provides service dogs and electric wheelchairs to veterans across the country. According to Paul Chapa, the foundation’s president, many veterans don’t receive the help they need because they are often too proud to admit they need assistance.
“We discovered those who need help the most are the ones who say they don’t want it,” said Chapa. “Our goal is to find those veterans and introduce them to opportunities, not handouts, that will improve their lives.”
Last January, Dr. Stiver, and his staff began setting aside $25 from every new patient referral to help FISH raise $8,500 to buy a service dog. During that time, the Department of Veteran Affairs contacted FISH about April Murphy, an Army veteran suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. According to Chapa, she’s exactly the type of person their organization can help.
“Once we met April, we knew she was a perfect fit for the service dog from Dental Care Center of SKC,” said Chapa. “This will be a life-changer for April because she feels safer with a service dog at her side.”
The service dog experience made the staff want to do more, so they decided to dedicate an entire day to providing veterans with free dental services. Over 20 veterans received help, and a few even showed up in the middle of the night to be the first in line!
“We all had tears in our eyes after hearing their stories, and how grateful they were for our help,” said Ginger. “These men and women have already given way more than we can repay them for, and it felt great to do something they couldn’t afford on their own.”
“We would love to make our Free Dental Day into an annual community event and have other Martin City businesses get involved,” said Ginger. “It was an amazing experience and we’re looking forward to helping even more people next year.”
We appreciate Dr. Stiver and his staff for their HUGE hearts! We are lucky to have them in Martin City. To learn more about the Dental Care Center of South KC, please visit their website.