PARKERSBURG - "Smiles for Life" represented by Mary Beth Shea, Oral Health coordinator for the Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department, and on behalf of numerous area dentists is the 10th and final "Cornerstone of Our Community" named by Our Community's Foundation-Parkersburg Area Community Foundation and Regional Affiliates-through its 50th anniversary program sponsored by Superior Toyota. Shea receives a gold Fenton vase and the honor of awarding $1,000 for charitable purposes.
A "cornerstone" is a fundamental building block on which the foundation of something is built. Foundation Executive Director Judy Sjostedt said the Smiles for Life program represented by Mary Beth Shea, along with 22 local dentists who volunteer their time and offices, was selected in the field of "health" for dedication and service to improving oral health of a six-county region.
"Because of Mary Beth's personal commitment and that of the 22 dentists who were nominated as well, the cornerstone of a program to provide decent dental care for persons in need was set in place. Through their continued efforts, more citizens continue to receive help."
Mary Beth Shea
The Smiles for Life program took two years to develop, to find funding resources and to structure its work with local dentists.
"In the first 18 months, 682 adults have been screened with 1,231 dental visits and 975 donated hours by dental professionals," Shea said. "Smiles for Life provides limited services at a reduced cost to qualified applicants. The application list is at 422 who are waiting to be screened and placed with a dentist making treatment limited to "most needed" care, especially targeting elimination of pain and severe infection. The needs are overwhelming but Smiles for Life is making a difference one client at a time."
Smiles for Life and all Oral Health Programs through MOVHD are grant-funded with significant donations of time and materials from local dentists and their staff.
"The Sisters of St. Joseph Charitable Fund, PACF, McDonough Foundation, Benedum Foundation, and many others have provided funding, for which we are very thankful," Shea adds.
The dedication of Mary Beth Shea and the 22 local dentists to improving the oral health to qualified candidates at a reduced cost has earned this group a Cornerstone of Our Community Award.