Appreciative — that’s the mood in which veteran Allen Devenny was left after winning MidWest Dental Hygiene’s nominate a veteran campaign.
Devenny sat in Dayna Nipkow’s chair Monday, Dec. 5 to claim his free two-hour session.
“It was quite good really. She was very, very helpful,” Devenny said. “Anybody would really feel comfortable with this young dental hygienist. She helped me out, gave me a lot of information. (She’s) really well-informed and was able to get that across. Even people who are scared of going to the dentist, she quickly dismantled that.”
“I am appreciative of the rights, freedoms and privileges that have enabled me, a young woman, mother of one-and-a-half, to become educated and professionally experienced having the opportunity to open my own business,” Nipkow said.
“I can appreciate that these rights and freedoms came at a cost to fellow Canadians that have served and those that continue to serve. I want to pay this forward to a deserving member in my community. I want to demonstrate my appreciation, through actions, to someone who’s contribution has paved the way for me to have this opportunity.”
A key motivator for the campaign is the lack of oral care provided to veterans that Nipkow has seen through her 17-year career, she said.
“I have, over time, come to feel that the oral care that is provided to those who have served is often at times falling short of the care I wish they could be provided with. I in no way fault veteran affairs as there are many needs they need to address,” Nipkow said.
“Oral health is a passion of mine and I wish I could see each veteran getting the ultimate preventative oral hygiene care. Enhancing the access to preventative care could reduce the need for complex, often more physically taxing, and definitely more costly restorative work.”
The nomination process closed in mid-November, with Devenny receiving the news of his name being drawn at the end of the month.
“It was kind of a shock, a pleasant shock,” he said.
Devenny had nothing but positive feedback for Nipkow and her new clinic.
“Big, big thank you to Dayna for offering this service in recognition of people who have served in the Canadian Forces no matter what time element you’ve served for, no matter what capacity. She told me how she had an awful lot of respect for people that have filled this role. I’m very grateful for her that she was able to do this for me. She’s really right on — she’s a super person.”
Nipkow said it was a pleasure to serve Devenny and she looks forward to running the campaign again next year.
Her appreciation is in thanks partially to her partner’s grandfather, Paul Fanning, who served as a flight training instructor throughout the Second World War. After a brief stint in civilian life, Fanning re-joined the military during the Korean crisis.
Fanning was a decorated veteran with three medals — the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal, the War Medal and the Canadian Forces Decoration Medal — before he was honourably discharged in 1964. He is also the primary namesake for Nipkow’s son.
“I am passionate about what I do. I enjoy many aspects of my job. Since beginning dental assisting school in 2001, my adventures in dentistry have taken me across the province and even overseas to Africa. No matter where my adventure has taken me, I have always enjoyed meeting new people, assessing their needs and not simply treating them, but partnering with them, if they so desire,” Nipkow said.
“Achieving optimum oral health is a science, a complicated one at times. I enjoy the challenge. It requires teamwork, as it is not what the patient can do on their own, or what I can do for them as part of their healthcare team, but its the synergistic relationship of what we can do together.”