Doing Our Part to Honor Those Who Serve – All Year Long

The Dental Smile Center has had the pleasure of serving the San Fernando Valley (SFV) community for over 18 years. If you are familiar with this area, you know it is home to numerous military installations and tens of thousands of active duty service members, veterans, reservists, and their families. Honoring the military and its heroes is an important part of the SFV culture, and not just on Veteran’s Day, Memorial Day, or during Military Appreciation Month (May). It is something we can all do every day, in our own way.

At our practice, we give all current and former members of the military along with their families a discount on all their dental care year-round. We also work with them to obtain financing, when that is necessary.

Beyond discounts, businesses here also do a lot to support our troops. They are hiring veterans and providing job security to reservists. This is really important, because, according to the US Department of Veterans Affairs, only 44% of military veterans across the US are employed, compared to 61% of non-veterans. Clearly, their skills and dedication make them valuable assets to businesses all over the valley and all over the country.

We all know that business can bring a lot to the table in terms of support, resources, and opportunities, and so can individuals. Especially individuals who are passionate and motivated to make a difference.

The day before Thanksgiving we read an article about an amazing woman, a neighbor in San Fernando Valley named Carolyn Blashek who wanted, after 9 – 11, to do something to help our troops.

After trying to join the military (she was told she was too old) she began to volunteer at The Bob Hope USO at LAX, where she had an emotional encounter with a serviceman that inspired her to do more.

Thinking of the packages she had sent to her children at camp, she realized that sending boxes to our service members would show them that they were appreciated and loved.

What started at her San Fernando Valley home quickly grew to become Operation Gratitude. The non-profit has now delivered over two million packages to our troops. Their website states, “We’re on a mission to thank every American who serves.”

This holiday season they have committed to deliver 20,000 packages to our deployed troops and anyone interested can be part of making that goal a success. From writing letters to writing a check, from collecting donations to making paracord bracelets, from assembling boxes to planning a fundraiser, there is way that anyone interested can participate. 

We are thankful for Operation Gratitude, are humbled by their service, and are delighted that we can participate. And we are proud (but not surprised) that this amazing organization had its humble beginnings in San Fernando Valley.

The story about Operation Gratitude was featured in ABC Radio's three-hour special, "America Gives Thanks," that aired on ABC Radio affiliates across the country on Thanksgiving Day.


Dr. Idan Snapir, DDS Director The Dental Smile Center

You Might Also Enjoy...