While Sept. 11 may be a time for remembering the losses of the terrorist attack victims and some who worked to save them on that date in 2001, Sept. 12 has been set aside for a national initiative that will give businesses the opportunity to thank the men and women who are still working to defend the country as part of the U.S. Military today.
On what has been named Freedom Day USA, businesses across the country will join together to offer free products and services to active duty military personnel and, in many cases, veterans as well.
Two businesses in Cleveland are taking part, both of them dental offices.
Cloudland Dental will offer free dental services to active duty military personnel and their families, as well as individual veterans. Franci Raines, an operations manager with the dental office chain, said all basic dental services can be done for free, provided they do not require a separate visit.
“Anything we can complete that day is free,” Raines said.
In order to receive services from Cloudland Dental, would-be patients must call the office and schedule an appointment and be prepared to show their Military IDs or other similar documentation once they get there.
Winn Smiles will offer free dental services to active duty military personnel, and veterans and family members can be served as time allows.
As with the other office, patients must bring military IDs or other paperwork with them.
No appointments are needed there; people can walk in and be served on a first come, first served basis between the hours of 11 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Amy Bot, a dental hygienist at Winn Smiles, said her office had the idea to get other local businesses involved as part of what they are doing once they were on board with Freedom Day USA.
During the event, patients and their families will also be able to partake of refreshments donated by Cooke’s Food Store, Jordan’s BBQ and Chick-fil-A.
Bot said the offices’ staff are excited about the event, in part because some of their family members have ties to the U.S. military.
“It’s just something that kind of hits home,” Bot said. “This is a way for us to have them come into our office so we can say thank you.”
She and Raines both said they hoped they would see more local businesses participating in the Sept. 12 event next year.
Though there are only two in Cleveland offering services from their own locations, a number of businesses in Chattanooga and statewide are set to participate in Freedom Day USA this year. Any business that offers a product or service can participate, and offerings available in other cities range from free food at restaurants and free gifts at retail stores to services like dog training and landscaping.
Raines said she thought more businesses might take Freedom Day USA as an opportunity to thank the troops as word gets out. In fact, she said it’s not too late for more to get involved this year.
“Businesses can decide to participate up until Sept. 12 and promote it through social media,” Raines said. “I think it will catch on.”
In the case of dental services, costs can add up, and Bot said she expected they would see some people who could not otherwise afford certain kinds of dental work.
With that in mind, the representatives from both Cleveland dental offices said they were looking foward to seeing new patients come through their doors.
“We’re proud to give back,” Raines said.
For more information about Freedom Day USA, call Cloudland Dental at 559-0157 or Winn Smiles at 472-6482 or visit www.freedomdayusa.org.