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Tradewinds March 2014 Final Web OPT

March 2014

Dr. Ed Houser: A Man

Dr. Ed Houser: A Man with a Dream For 42 years he served in dentistry from his roots in the US Public Health Service; serving from the San Francisco US Public Health Hospital to the US Coast Guard in Elizabeth City, North Carolina and later completing a distinguished professional career in Ohio. While recovering from injuries incurred during an accident he paused to reflect upon his life. Looking back at his career he realized that his most satisfying times were those serving the disadvantaged, people in need of help. Thus began his seeking to find missions in which to use his gift of dentistry. During this time of pondering he moved to Grandy in Currituck County to be near his daughter’s family, including cherished moments of time with his grandsons. Initially as there were no established free dental clinics in which to volunteer, he traveled with Missions of Mercy throughout NE North Carolina. However, he soon felt strongly the need to open a local free dental clinic. He prayed and talked to colleagues, church members, local organizations and government for support to provide the dental health care. Eager promises of future support were shared, enough for him to make a leap of faith and purchase a mobile unit to begin his ministry adjacent to Mt. Zion United Methodist Church in Grandy, North Carolina. Next, with his family’s help, he financed the start up. During this process, he contacted his friends and acquaintances from his 40 plus years in dentistry for donations of supplies and equipment. He also discovered the importance of applying for grants and gratefully several critical grants and other donations arrived just in time. Initial equipment and dentistry necessities flowed in and “Dr. Ed” as called by his clients, was able to open his doors and begin to serve people in desperate need of dental care. As word spread throughout NE North Carolina including the Hampton Roads, Virginia area, the list of persons in need of care grew exponentially. Working two days a week, in the two years his door has been opened, Dr. Ed has served over 1,200 patients and performed thousands of dental procedures for people who could not afford dental care. Patients have come from over 9 different counties in eastern North Carolina and from Virginia. Some adults received their first ever dental care. In the two plus years the clinic has been operational the donated dollar value of his care has exceeded $350,000. Now his pay is tearful hugs and handshakes. Dr. Ed states that he has never been happier, “My life is rich and I am the one who is blessed.” However, as the need for dental care help has grown, it has become obvious that a larger facility is desperately needed. Currently his two dental chairs are occupied in the small 10 X 30 foot trailer with no privacy for consultations while the small cramped waiting reception area only seats 2 persons at a time. The AC and heat may or may not work on a given day and there are no restrooms. While driving in the community looking at abandoned stores in a local shopping center, a dream took hold to construct a solid dental clinic capable of serving more people per day with dignity inside rooms with more privacy. He realizes this would also open an opportunity for other dentists and dental technicians to volunteer their time. For with the overwhelming numbers of people in need, he currently cannot adequately serve them in a timely way. Perhaps a new clinic could also serve as an avenue for training new dentist from one of the local university dental schools. He believes emphatically that those whom volunteer to serve will discover through their efforts of mercy, a satisfaction beyond their daily dental routines. A service of giving back with gratitude for all they have been blessed to receive in life. If you would like to contact Dr. Ed Houser, DDS, you may call the Currituck Free Dental Clinic at 252-599-7776 or email FreeDentalClinic@aol.com. He may also be reached at PO Box 770, Grandy, NC 27939. Respectfully submitted by a fan of Dr. Ed, Sheila Grandy Grandy, N.C. Figure 1: The Community Free Dental Health Clinic located in the Mt. Zion United Methodist Church parking lot in Grandy, North Carolina. “Run for your life from any man who tells you that money is evil. That sentence is the leper’s bell of an approaching looter.” ― Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged On a budget? Buy a black and white AD with 6 Month Commitment and get 2 months half off! Call Scott 252-312-2302 scott.perry@albemarletradingpost.com

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