Each year a team of dedicated dentists, dental hygienists, assistants and support staff from around the country get together for a very important house call. Founded and led by Dr. Thomas Blake, our own general dentist in Waynedale, Sonrisas Sieprew (Smile Always) sets out each year for Honduras to help build smiles through orphans and other children of this isolated Central American country. Dr. Blake began visiting Honduras in 2000, starting with only a 2-person team. Now, since 2013 the team has grown to 30 every year.
From January 29th through February 6th this year’s team traveled to the city of Comayagua, Honduras, a city in the less traveled interior of the country. There, they set up shop at the Lions Club dental clinic and other facilities that allowed them space. They even took more remote trips to smaller villages in the surrounding mountains. During this week the team performed 536 fillings, 813 extractions, 223 cleanings, 2 root canals, 2 steel crowns and 1 frenectomy. With turmoil all over the globe, safety is always a concern yet even with armed guards outside their hotel, the team’s safety never seemed in jeopardy.
Ashley Anglin, a first year team member and dental hygienist with Dr. Joe Kinder’s office, Fort Wayne said, “I enjoyed the beauty of this country, but I’m even more excited to serve the orphans, children and teens.” She was so impressed with the trip, she says, “I will definitely do it again!”
The Sonrisas Sieprew became incorporated in 2009 when Dr. Steve Ellinwood teamed up with Dr. Blake. Dr. Ellinwood is also a dentist from Fort Wayne, so the Hoosier state is well represented.
Since Dr. Blake has been going so regularly, he gets to see many children he recognizes. I asked Dr. Blake “what keeps you going back?” His answer was swift, “God. I want to do something a little bit better than the year before.” I am sure that if all of us tried to do something better each year, there would be a smile in Heaven brighter than the sun.