Pensacola Mission of Mercy a Success, A Look to the Future
by: Howard L. Pranikoff, DDS, MScD, Board of Trustees
The third Florida Mission of Mercy event took place in Pensacola, sponsored by the Northwest District Dental Assoc. on March 23 – 25, 2017. Check it out at https://www.floridadental.org/foundation/programs/mission-of-mercy . The planning, preparation and actual implementation, much behind the scenes, was progressing long before the actual event date. The fund raising is a major undertaking to be able to put on this event and this has progressed to where there is now seed money to get the next event going. More than $350,000 in donations and in-kind services were raised. Besides many individual donations, just about every dental supply company & a great many dental manufacturers and local businesses and organizations were donors. Many companies actually had their representatives on hand to help with their equipment and supplies.
The man power commitment to carry on the event is most significant in all areas. More than 1500 volunteer professional, administrative, technical people were present and even the tasks like emptying the trash were handled. All three dental schools were also represented by students and faculty, as well as most of the FDA staff. The bulk of the leadership and participation was certainly from the Northwest District, but major contributions were from all over the state. Dentists and staff from Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama and many other states were on hand to treat the more than 1800 patients who showed up for treatment. An impact study was done for this event (and is becoming the model other states will use) and this provided statistical evidence that this project reduces the demand for emergency oral care services within the local Emergency Room facilities.
So, let’s look to the future. As many of you are aware, we are planning to host our own MOM event in the spring of 2019. In Pensacola, our CFDDA was not too heavily represented. To the best of my recollection there was myself (Howard Pranikoff), Jim Antoon, with staff, our president, Lee Ann Keough, Don Ilkka, Gary Herbeck with his daughter and Bert Hughes (and, of course, our then FDA president, Bill D’Aiuto). I apologize if I left anyone out. This can only be a success with a major participation of volunteers from our District. Dentists, staff, families & friends who want to give of themselves to the greater community are all welcome. More about the many available volunteer positions will be forthcoming. However, we are looking for a significant participation from our District for the Florida Mission of Mercy-Fort Myers on March 9-10, 2018. We want to develop a group of experienced volunteers to plan and make our event in 2019 a great success. By volunteering for a FLA-MOM event you will work hours that you select, be fed nutritious food, earn continuing education (CE) credit for your service through our FLA-MOM pro bono program, be re-energized for your profession, meet other highly motivated dental professionals who also want to “give back”, and you will just plain feel good about what you have accomplished. So sign up now at this link: http://www.rsvpbook.com/event.php?508996
As of this writing, the exact date and location for our CFDDA FLA-MOM is still yet to be decided. Jim Antoon and Don Ilkka have taken on the job as co-chairs to get our FLA-MOM going. As of now, we do not yet have any official sign up for our 2019 event; however, if you are interested in volunteering please send in your name, contact information and how you would like to volunteer to our Executive Director, Marlinda Fulton at [email protected]