PDT Staff Writer
Dr. Tracy Murray was getting paid well for his services Saturday.
“Actually Dr. Murray has gotten two or three hugs so far,” Murray’s wife, Rhonda Murray, said as the patients streamed in. “Everyone is very appreciative. They are cooperating outside in the line. It’s hot out, and they are still waiting. They have been here since one o’clock this morning waiting. It is just a good day.”
For the fifth consecutive year, Murray, visiting dentists, and his staff have given of their talents, equipment, and time to provide free dental care, as a part of Free Day of Dentistry.
“He has seen over 500 patients. He has done over $200,000 worth of free dental care,” Rhonda Murray, said. “This year we have Dr. (Raj) Gutta and Dr. (Hal) Jeter helping him. There is also probably 30 people here who are on the staff, plus our families. Our families are here helping out. Everyone is working free.”
The staff arrived at 6:30 a.m., and the doctors began working with patients at 8 a.m. Murray said she expected to be working with patients until around 6 - 7 p.m., making sure each person is taken care of. Murray said there is a reason the doctor and his staff schedule the free day each year.
“There’s a lot of people who work, but they do not have dental insurance,” Murray said. “There’s people who don’t work, and just cannot afford to get dental care done, so Dr. Murray provides that for them. It’s hard to fit in your budget for dental, and so we’re just glad to be here to help, and to give them the opportunity to come down and take advantage of it.”
In every room of Murray’s office, people were receiving care, cleanings, fillings, extractions, all free and all done with a caring attitude by both the doctors and the assistants.
Murray said a lot of people in the community donated food for the event, so that those waiting to be seen and those giving of their time to manage the event would be able to be fed.
Murray said Dr. Murray and members of his staff will also be participating in another free event next week.
“It’s the Single’s Fair at Christ’s Community,” Rhonda Murray said. “Christ’s Community holds the Fair - they change oil, they give haircuts, we do the dentistry part of it. So they bring over carloads of people - single parents with their kids, and we clean their teeth. And it’s all free of charge. We do that one Saturday each year in August.”
Murray said many of the faces the staff sees on the Free Day of Dentistry are not unfamiliar.
“Some of the people who came this year were the same ones who came to last year’s, and as they left, they said ‘I’ll see you next year,’” Murray said.
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 232, or at firstname.lastname@example.org