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Freedom Day USA gives dentists the opportunity to give back to military personnel, veterans and their families.
To paraphrase the movie Jerry Maguire, “They had me at hello!” Watching the following videos about Freedom Day USA, tears started to flow from my eyes when the little girl had a surprise visitor at school: Her Dad coming back early from deployment in Afghanistan. When I finished watching the rest of the video, I called Dr. Robert Martino, the founder of Freedom Day USA and told him, “I will support you in any way I can.”
If I had to choose one dentist to represent our whole profession to the White House or the United Nations, it would be Dr. Martino. I know that everyone who knows him would agree. Five years ago in his never-ending quest to make a difference he created Freedom Day USA, an annual day of thanks that invites dental offices from around the country to provide free dentistry to military personnel, veterans and their families. It is a day that gives dentistry a great name and for those who participate it is a day they never forget.
See why this matters below:
To provide more detail on this incredibly special initiative I met with Wendy Boyce, National Marketing Director of Freedom Day USA to answer the specifics about the most commonly asked questions about Freedom Day:
What exactly Is Freedom Day USA and what is its goal?
Freedom Day USA is a national thank-you event that takes place one day each year. Dental teams across the nation provide complimentary services to our active military, their immediate families and to our veterans. This year, Freedom Day USA takes place on October 12, 2017.
There is a significant unmet need among military veterans and their families for basic oral health care. Benefits are not universally available to all veterans and both preventative care and reparative treatment often go neglected. So, besides providing dental teams with a unique vehicle to directly thank our military, their families and all veterans for the sacrifices they have made for our freedom, we hope to unify the dental community as a voice for change to improve dental coverage and benefits for our veterans and their families.
Are there restrictions on the services that participating dental offices provide?
Not at all. Dental practices are listed as a Freedom Day USA participants whether they see one patient or dedicate every chair on the schedule for Freedom Day USA guests. The dentist and his/her team determine the services they would like to provide. Many of our participants provide complimentary hygiene appointments along with same-day operative procedures, while others are more specific or limited in their offer.
This “thank-you” comes from the dentist and their team, so it’s completely up to each practice! The only thing we ask is that whatever services are provided are completely free.
Have past participants found that Freedom Day USA benefits their practice?
Absolutely. Along with being able to do something nice for the military/veteran community, Freedom Day USA is an amazing team-building experience for the office. While the main goal is to give back, we have many offices tell us that they experience an increase in new patients due to their involvement, and the media often showcases the practice (free advertising!) as the event gets closer. Many teams appear on the news, in the paper and in magazines/articles.
Continue to page two to learn more about participating in Freedom Day USA 2017 ...
How does the community find out that a local practice is participating in Freedom Day USA?
Once an office signs up as a Freedom Day USA participant, we provide them with a media kit that contains press release templates, social media tips, planning guidance and more. These tools help them let their community and guests know about the event. The practice is also listed as a participating provider on the Freedom Day USA website and is included in social media posts in the days leading up to the event.
Is there any cost to participate?
Registering as a Freedom Day USA Participant is completely free. The only cost incurred is the value of the “thank-you” offer (the services provided). Additionally, because we are a 501(c)(3) public charity we suggest that providers check with their tax professional to see how participation may be tax deductible.
What’s involved in planning and holding the actual event?
After registering, the team schedules the guests as they call in based on the practice’s specific thank-you offer. The practice will want to review the media kit and use the tools inside to raise awareness for what they are doing! On event day, they conduct business as usual (i.e. utilizing current practice forms, appointment times, etc.…); other than having a free thank-you offer we try to keep things simple and flexible. We do ask providers to keep track of how many patients they see and an approximate value of the services they provide, as we’ll send a short survey following the event.
Beyond that it’s up to the individual office as to how event day works – some make Freedom Day USA a celebration with decorations and door prizes donated from local businesses, take lots of photos, post on social media and recruit other businesses around town to host events (making Freedom Day a community celebration) and more. Others focus on providing services to the appointed Freedom Day USA patients which is incredibly special by itself. Speaking directly to the dental community, Freedom Day is about YOUR thank you. You design your day based on how you want to honor your Freedom Day USA guests.
How do practices become a part of Freedom Day USA?
It’s easy to register as a Freedom Day USA providing practice. Simply visit the website and fill out the registration form here. Once we receive the registration, we send out a media kit, populate our website listing and publish social media posts welcoming and announcing new Freedom Day USA practices. New registrants are added to our mailing list and receive tips and other helpful info leading up to the event. Of course, the Freedom Day USA team is always available to support any informational needs that new participating practices may have. We’re happy to walk the team through the event planning steps to help ensure that their event day is successful!
Watch the following video to hear Dr. Robert Martino talk about why he founded Freedom Day USA.
Many thanks to Wendy for providing all this critical information about how to participate in Freedom Day. I know I speak for everyone at DPR in saluting you, Dr. Martino and the whole Freedom Day team in making a difference and providing our profession a way to give to those that keep us safe.
To all reading this, I hope you will join me in dedicating a day to the military, veterans and their families. Let’s serve them for a day in salute to their daily dedication in putting their lives on the line past and present to serve us. Thank you.