After returning from a medical/dental mission trip in Africa with the North Arkansas Baptist Association, I was asked what types of dental problems I saw "over there." My response was that I saw the same things over there that I see on a regular basis here in Harrison.
I was approached by the Rotary Club of Harrison and asked if I thought 1) a free dental pain relief clinic was needed in Harrison and if I 2) thought there would be enough support for this type of mission project, my answer was YES!
The great thing about this ongoing project is that we have had so much support from the community to start it and "grow it"!
The Rotary Centennial Dental Clinic officially opened its doors in 2004, and the Rotary Club of Harrison leases the building from the city for just $1.
Rotary's motto is "Service above Self" the Rotary Club is always looking to help others. The Rotary Club of Harrison along with other volunteers, like myself, made this clinic their project to celebrate Rotary International's 100th year in 2004. It was determined that a dental clinic is something that people without insurance, people with low income that couldn't afford basic dental care, needed.
Fifteen years later, 2020, Rotary held a ribbon cutting to show off the renovations and equipment, like x-ray machines and a machine that cleans dental tools. Delta Dental gave an $18,000 grant for the renovations completed in 2020.
I and all the dentists in Harrison rotate shifts at the clinic to help out. It's one Tuesday a month, and we all take turns. Each dentist "night" we see about a dozen patients.
Since 2004, the community has saved a half a million dollars and we have seen about 3,000 patients. Dentists serve patients from across north Arkansas, and patients are screened to determine who is in the most need.