Dentists thank vets for service with free care
By Chris Day
Saturday, November 10, 2018
COINJOCK — Thanks to the Smile Squad at Morgan Family Dentistry, 18 area veterans received an early Veterans Day present on Friday: nearly $30,000 in free dental work.
Morgan Family Dentistry, at 153 Worth Guard Road in Coinjock, held its fourth annual free dental clinic for veterans on Friday. The clinic began at 8:30 a.m. and ran until about 3 p.m.
During that time, three dentists — doctors Pat Morgan, his son, David, and Frank Bald, who practices in Elizabeth City — and their staff provided $26,840 in free treatment to 18 patients, said David Morgan. The work included 68 extractions, 12 fillings, six alveoplasties and the removal of a tumor.
One of the happy veterans was Moyock resident Michael Camp, who retired after serving 24 years in the Navy.
“Thank you for your service,” David Morgan told Camp, who’d just received a shot to the inside of his mouth. Camp was talking while waiting for the numbing agent to take hold.
“Thank you!” Camp replied to Morgan. “Thanks for what you’re doing.”
Camp was being treated for a broken tooth and a possible root canal on another tooth.
“This is wonderful,” Camp said of the free service. “Like I said, this tooth just broke off. I couldn’t even smile.
“I appreciate everything Morgan Family Dentistry is doing for us. I think it’s awesome,” Camp added.
Morgan sent Camp home with a prescription for antibiotics to use while he’s recovering.
Vietnam veteran Rodney Bell drove from Kill Devil Hills. While the drive was about 30 minutes, it definitely beat the alternative of driving farther to the VA hospital in Hampton, Virginia, to receive treatment, he said.
“Every time I get something done in Hampton I need someone to carry me,” said Bell, who was anticipating having some teeth pulled.
Bell arrived at Morgan Family Dentistry around 8:15 a.m. He said he heard about the dental clinic for veterans from a friend who saw an advertisement in another dentist’s office in Kill Devil Hills.
If the number of vehicles in the parking were any indication, it would be fair to say the clinic has grown in popularity over the years. David Morgan agreed.
“I think so,” he said. “I think the word has gotten out.”
Pat Morgan, whose father was in the army for 20 years, said he, his son and Bald started the clinic after recognizing a need in the Coinjock area.
“We want to give back,” the older Morgan said, adding they want veterans to know they haven’t been forgotten. “That we care.”
Alyssa Leary, a dental assistant, said the clinic was a great way for the staff to thank veterans for their service.
“It just makes us feel good to give something back,” she said.
Likewise, veterans are appreciative of the free clinic.
“I’ve found them to be very grateful,” said David Morgan.
The clinic also is something the community rallies behind, as different businesses and organizations donated T-shirts, dental supplies and other equipment. Outside, volunteers with local American Legion Post 288 served coffee under a tent donated by the local Ruritans.
“Everybody we asked to help said, ‘No problem, we’ll be there,’” Pat Morgan said.