The Center for Cosmetic Dentistry on 25th Street is getting a head start on the season of thanksgiving by providing free dental care for veterans Friday, Nov. 8.
“Our veterans come back after they spend a tour of duty, or multiple tours, and all year long they have that history, but we only spend one day a year to remind everybody of that,” said hygienist Denise Morrow. “We should thank them more often than we do.”
The family and cosmetic dentist’s office run by father and son duo Drs. Ken and Brian Beard have a long history of giving back to the community.
“We are one big, happy family here and if someone comes in, after a short period they will hear laughter and giggling,” Morrow said. “They probably wonder if anyone is working back here. We just like to have fun.”
Morrow, who joined the staff in 1977, recalled many community efforts over the years. She said the office used to set aside one day during November to offer free services to the community. Increased activity in each of the staff’s life made it difficult to continue the practice in recent years.
Everyone felt a need to get back to the office’s roots of giving this year.
“It is our way of saying thanks to the community for allowing us to be a part of the community,” Morrow said. “We are here because the community is here.”
Veterans hold a special place in Morrow’s heart as her father was in the U.S. Navy. She said it is vital to remind those who served of how important they are. The dentistry staff is doing this through providing fillings, extractions and cleanings.
An appointment can be made by calling 423-476-6541 before Friday.
“Whatever they see as a need for themselves,” Morrow said. “They can tell us what their need is and we can tell them how we can fix it. It will be their choice whether they decide to take the course we suggest.”
This is not the first time the staff has interacted with veterans. Morrow said appointments have been made in the past through the Veterans Affairs office.
Added Morrow, “Their stories are just amazing. It is like sitting back on my grandmother’s porch. You just get so involved in listening to their stories.”
She noticed a group of young men who shared a similar opinion while out at breakfast recently. A veteran came in for breakfast only to find out the cost of his meal had already been covered. He ordered, grabbed his food and proceeded to sit down with the men.
Morrow said the young benefactors were immediately hooked as the veteran began sharing his war stories.
She described the veteran as becoming increasingly excited as he saw their interest. He was pumped up by the time he left to pick up his brother, a fellow veteran, from a local assisted-living complex.
“Their experiences, whether positive or negative, are important to them,” Morrow said. “They lived that life. They did that for us.”
Asking a question and providing a listening ear often leads to healing, according to Morrow.
“A lot of them just need someone to love on them and let them know we know them,” Morrow said. “Let them know they are important. You don’t want to walk through a place where no one knows your name.”
The clinic is located at 415 25th St. beside Bender Realty.