Advertising a ‘Free Day of Dentistry’ would probably make most people turn their heads twice, but Dr. Tracy Murray does just that. Murray and his team, along with Dr. Hal Jeter DDS and Dr. Andrew R. Mullendore DDS, MD and some of their team made a special day for many in the community become another success.
This is the 11th year for Murray’s ‘Free Day of Dentistry.’ “Everybody in the office gets excited when this time comes around. We probably work on this for a couple of months. Basically, this is our way of giving back to the community,” Murray said. “We’ve been so supported throughout the years, we’ve been here 31 years since 1988. We were looking for a way to give back to the community and this is a good way for us to do it. A lot of good people come through and we would see the need of people coming through and we would see them and not being able to take care of the problems, that was how it came about.
“I graduated and had a year as an associate in Circleville and then came to Portsmouth,” Murray said. They have been in the current building for 22 years. Murray humorously says the only way he remembers the year they moved to the new building was that his son was born that year too.
Dr. Mullendore, an oral surgeon from Columbus brought his two assistants Angie and Jill. Murray says that Mulloendore would do most of the extractions for the day. Also, Dr. Jeter a dentist from South Point is a friend of Murray and he has been at every ‘Free Day of Dentistry’ from the beginning. “He is just as big a part of this as everyone else,” says Murray. As for getting Mullendore to help out, Murray says he basically made what he called a ‘cold call’ because the oral surgeon that had helped before retired and he just gave Murray some names. Rhonda, Murray’s wife says, “our daughter saw that he went to Miami University and that is where she went, so she wanted us to call him. I called him and he came and he has been with us ever since.”
Everything on this day, is free, everyone comes in and works all day for free. They said they would finish around four for the day. the Murrays even had their youngest daughter, Mariah, who is turning 15, helping out at the desk.
“We could not do this day without our staff, they do all their behind the scenes stuff, and get it done and makes our life much easier,” Murray said. Murray’s parents flew in from Texas for this day. They were here last year and they wanted to come again. His dad helps out with the grilling of hot dogs for the patients. “The community has been great about giving us donations,” Rhonda continued, “I have been all over and they have been great about giving donations the restaurants are feeding us today.”
Speaking with some of the patients, most of them were there having extractions and would not otherwise been able to have that done. They also were saying good things about Murray and his team, like how nice this is and how grateful they were that he did this.
“The first year that they did this, they did not make appointments, the people just stood in line and the line was unbelievable.” Jeter said. “There was a huge crowd and we just shifted it into gear and started early in the morning and didn’t finish till 7:30 that night. We didn’t want to leave anyone out. This community here, has been great and they seem to want to have a hand in giving back to Dr. Murray.” Jeter brought with him his daughter, Ginny Brown, who she says has been working with her dad off and on for years, as she had some off to have her children.
The person who truly keeps this whole day running like a tight ship is Murray’s Clinical Administrator,(Office Manager), Chasity Messer. “This will be nine years that I have been here doing this. We’ve never really had any major problems happen, but we’ve kind of grown and know what works and what does not to help things run smoother,” Messer said. “We used to do the lines, but in the last few years, we have done the scheduling and it works better.” She said the local businesses donate the food for the volunteers and then they have hot dogs, chips and a drinks for the patients. The patients also get a T-Shirt and bag with toothbrush, floss. She also said their staff never seems to mind giving up their day without pay saying there were some that gave up special things just to be there.
Rhonda says they saw 68 patients, the amount that would have been $36,355.00. The procedures for the day totaled 244 and was estimated at a cost that would have been $234 per patient.
Reach Kimberly Jenkins (740) 353-3101 ext. 1928
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