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Left to right, front: Dental assistant Kandice Bowe and Dr. Virginia McMillan work on patient Shelly Harper on the dental van April 27. In the back, dental van manager Keith Canwell and Janice Pierce look over charts. The Eagle/Tina Cook

JOHN DAY - They say it takes a village to raise a child, so you can imagine that it takes much more than that to provide dental services to the county's uninsured.

"It's a huge community effort," said Jan Bauer, a volunteer.

Children and adults without dental insurance were given much needed dental services when the Medical Teams International van came to John Day April 25, 26 and 27.

"Many of the residents of Grant County fall between Oregon Health Plan coverage and enough money to pay for services, so they come here for free," Bauer said.

The Healthy Smiles for Grant County Dental Coalition and the Grant County Health Department brought the van to the county, but the majority of the costs were provided by local private donors, Kiwanis and the Oregon Dental Foundation/Columbia Shores Financial.

Funding is only a piece of the pie. Without the dentists and their staff volunteering their expertise and the local restaurants donating lunch to keep everyone functioning, there wouldn't be anyone to provide the services.

"We have so much gratitude for the dentists and their staffs," said Marsha Delaney, a public health nurse.

Dr. Whitnah of Richland and local dentists, Dr. DesJardin and Dr. McMillan, provided dental services to 31 patients last week. The dollar value of services totaled $17,364.

McDonald's, Squeeze In Deli and the Outpost provided sustenance for the volunteers.

The next dental van is scheduled for fall 2007.

"We already have a list of people who want services when the next van comes," Delaney said.

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