Who said that dentists and firefighters are worlds apart?
Both serve others. One is committed to bringing back the smile in the hearts of others. The other one bringing the hope of life to others who may be in a fiery situation. While one performs his services on a clinic, the other one performs his duties in the unlikeliest of places. Such varied circumstances. Very different vocations. Yet one very uniquely similar goal: to pay it forward.
The concept of paying it forward is nothing new. Although it became mainstream even before the movie of the same name in 2000, two individuals are now epitomizing the very essence of the social philosophy.
If you ask around, Dr. Matheny has established his reputation among the best dentists in Port St. Lucie, Florida by dedicating his life to making sure that his patients are able to smile more confidently again. He firmly believes in the value of excellent oral and dental health in fostering a healthier self-concept. Dr. Matheny is saddened by the common observation that many of the teenagers in the neighborhood are shy and not smiling very often. He knows that one of the obstacles to obtaining premium dental health care is the socioeconomic condition of families and individuals. And while he charges very minimal fees from his patients, not many can still afford some of the highly specialized orthodontic treatments that he provides.
Until he came across the Oral Health Lifetime Foundation. The Foundation is a non-profit national dentist organization that provides free dental braces to deserving recipients, mostly children. This is what Dr. Matheny has been waiting for. He knows that he can use his expertise and his skills to help turn around the life of a deserving kid.
That lucky kid was Ryan Smith. Ryan Smith was a teenager who dreams of becoming a nurse, a personal trainer, or a firefighter. The caring attributes of the nurse combined with the physical fitness of a trainer has spurred Ryan to choose becoming a firefighter instead. However big his dreams, Ryan often shied away from other kids in the neighborhood. His teeth were never his greatest assets. He would attempt to smile but only in an impish, shy way. He once told his siblings that all he ever wanted was to have dental braces so that he will feel much more confident again.
When Ryan learned of the Oral Health Lifetime Foundation’s scholarship, he had to muster the courage to fill up the application form. He never really had any high expectations from his application. That is why, he was simply astonished to learn that he is a recipient of free dental restoration and makeover from the Foundation. Additionally, the Foundation willingly gave Ryan a college scholarship so he can fulfill his dreams of becoming a firefighter and be of great service to the community he loves. This is the Foundation’s way of assuring that Ryan will be able to pay it forward.
It was Dr. Matheny who crafted and applied Invisalign along with cosmetic dental procedures for Ryan. And now, Ryan has already begun his firefighter training, hoping someday that he will pay the deed forward to the people who will need his services.