BENNINGTON >> On Friday, a group of local dentists hosted a free dental day for veterans, and saw good turnout despite the weather.
Husband and wife duo Dr. Tyler Carmack and Dr. Betsy Carmack, who operate the Bennington Dental Center at 219 River Street in Bennington, and the Shaftsbury Dental Center at 677 Route 7A in Shaftsbury, had the idea last month to host a single day in which any veterans could stop by and have dental work performed for free, as a way to thank them for their service.
"We saw the need in the community," said Tyler Carmack, "If they are willing to die for us and give us our freedom, we feel this is a way that we can give back."
At around 1 p.m. on Friday, about half-way through the day, Carmack said that they had already served 25 veterans. Just as impressive as the turnout, however, was the response from the rest of the community. Local dentist Dr. Jeremy Clover, who also works at the Shaftsbury Dental Center, heard about the event and offered his services, as did two dental students from Tufts University, who came all the way from Boston to help out. TasteeFreeze, on North Street in Bennington, donated hamburgers, hotdogs, and drinks for a barbecue for patients waiting for service, and E-Z Way Rental Center on County Street donated a tent to keep them dry as they ate. Sam Clement and Krista Speroni provided music throughout the day.
"It's been really cool to see the support of the community," said Carmack, "Everyone is reaching out to help."
Carmack said that their entire staff donated their time to help perform the work. Betsy Carmack said the veterans were among the most polite patients she's ever had. "I can't believe how appreciative they are," she said, "They've earned it." She said that when they first opened at 8 a.m., about 12 people were waiting, and the rest came in a steady stream throughout the day. She said how spread out they were was a good thing. "We've been able to do more treatment on each patient than we expected," she said.
The services offered will include exams, cleanings, fillings, cancer screenings, extractions, and anything else that could be done in a single visit.
Derek Carson can be reached for comment at 802-447-7567, ext. 122.