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Volunteers made event a success

Published 9:31pm Saturday, March 15, 2014

To the editor:

On behalf of the Virginia Dental Association and its Foundation, I want to thank the Suffolk News-Herald for its coverage of the first Mission of Mercy free dental health clinic held in eastern Virginia in many years.

On March 8 at King’s Fork Middle School in Suffolk, more than 400 dentists, students and community members volunteered their time and talents to help 464 adults and children receive urgently needed treatment. The value of this care, which included 494 fillings and more than 1,300 extractions, topped $475,000.

Thousands of people across the commonwealth suffer from the pain of untreated tooth decay with little or no access to dental care. That’s why VDA director Dr. Terry Dickinson created the Mission of Mercy program in 2000.

Though designed to treat problems that can be addressed in one day, the program has become an important part of Virginia’s overall dental safety net.

Many thanks to the city of Suffolk, its public schools, police department, the Obici Healthcare Foundation, the Suffolk Rotary Club, the VCU schools of nursing, dentistry and pharmacy and many more caring people for making our first MOM of 2014 — our 15th year — such a crucial success.

Patrick W. Finnerty

President

Virginia Dental Association Foundation

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