Recently students in the Dental Assistant program at Ross Medical Education Center in Kokomo, Indiana had an opportunity to volunteer at a special event to honor veterans. The staff and faculty are so proud of Dental Assistant Instructor Cindie Hudson and the many students she encourages to give back of their time. We spoke with a couple of the students that had the opportunity to serve those who have served our country during the Free Day of Dentistry for Veterans.
The first student that shared was Hannah Thatcher who spent the day at Dr. Melissa Jarrell’s Free Day of Dentistry for Veterans. “I want to start off by giving a massive thank you to my teacher, Miss Cindie Hudson, for informing me about the event and asking me to volunteer with her. I want to thank Dr. Jarrell and her team for organizing the day, because it is a day that I will never forget. I want to thank the other doctors and volunteers that attended the event. I think that we all did an amazing job, and lastly I want to thank all of the veterans that came. I want to thank you for what you have done for all of us by serving in the branch that you were in. I heard a lot of their stories and I told them mine.
“I’ve been working at Harmony Orthodontics for two and a half years and I love every moment of it, but volunteering that day taught me a lot. I have never worked in a general dentist office, and it was a new experience. I assisted in one root canal, three fillings, and I worked in sterilization. I was very nervous in the beginning, but when I started working, that went away very fast. The doctors that I assisted walked me through the procedures and made it very helpful to get the job done.
“One of my favorite moments of the day was a patient that I was speaking to and he said tell me your story and I will tell you mine. I gave him my backstory on my job and education and he said, ‘I have never met you, and may never see you again, but I will remember today, and I appreciate everything that you do and everything that you stand for.’ That was one of the best compliments that I could ever receive, and I told him thank you, I appreciated him, and I thanked him for letting me assist the doctor, knowing that I was a student. All of the patients had faith in me, and I loved that they did. It was truly an amazing experience, and I will never forget the things that I have learned, or the people that I met.”
Another student, Courtney Blankenship, also enjoyed her experience during her day of volunteering. “I had the opportunity to volunteer at Dr. Melissa A. Jarrell’s office in Kokomo Indiana on Friday, September 8th. It was a “Smile for Vets” free day of dentistry, which allows any veteran to come into the office for a free day of dentistry. The veterans were able to either get an extraction, filling, or cleaning, and some even had root canals and crowns made for them that day. I got the opportunity to assist in two procedures that day. I assisted in an extraction and a tooth filling. I also watched as the dentist and dental assistant did a crown, extractions, and fillings as well.
“For me it was one of the greatest experiences, and I am very thankful that I had the opportunity to do this! Everyone that had gone through the doors and left were absolutely blessed, and also so thankful for us being there and doing this all for them! It was an honor to be able to be chair side assisting and watching the doctors do this for every veteran that walked through the doors. I really enjoyed it, it was a terrific learning experience!”