15th Smiles for Life Dominican Republic Humanitarian Expedition

On Friday, September 2, 2011, our 15th Humanitarian Expedition leaves for the Dominican Republic.  We express our public gratitude to the following for the donation of their time, experience and resources:

Dr. Roy Hammond

Glenda Hammond

Mark Webb

Angel Webb

Annie Puchar

Juston Puchar

Justin Hamilton

Jocelyn Hamilton

Pam Peterson

Dr. Mario Ambrosio

Brett Rappleye

Dr. Amy Horton

Rosa Fuentes

Kristina Cogburn

Alissia Marquette Taylor

Sandra Michelle Herrera

Brittiny Trevino

Allison Prather

Dr. Charlie Schneider

Lindsay Schneider

MacKenzie Schneider

Austin Tess

Dr. Chris Hoyal

Tayva Peterson

Tyler Peterson

Christa Hoyal

Jenna Peterson

Melanie Peterson

Monique Henderson

Connor Henderson


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Comment by CROWN COUNCIL on September 10, 2011 at 9:41am

Day 8
Our Group.
Today at the hotel everyone really took advantage of the
beach, pool, volleyball, and yummy food. It was definitely needed
and now everyone is ready to go back home to their
families and get back to work. We will be taking
a four hour bus ride in the morning to the aiport and catching our
flights to head home. What a wonderful week with such a
special group. There were friendships made that will last
a lifetime and peoples lives that will forever be changed.
Thanks for the great trip and hard work!
Until next time.............




Day 7
Today was our last day working at a clinic and I can say we definitely
ended with a bang. We served in a little town at a chicken farm
in the city of Santiago. We saw 80 patients and finished strong. It was
another hot day but we made sure we were under some trees and
had a little breeze. There were chickens walking around us all day and
the owner of the house had a parakeet that was squawking all day
long. Once we were done we were all exhausted. After five days of
setting up, working all day long, taking down, going to bed and starting over
the next day it can really take its toll. But like I have mentioned over
and over again, no one ever complained. In fact Conner Henderson
mentioned in his thought for the day that he had only heard one person
complain the whole week and that was Austin the day he had the
stomach flu and was throwing up. He was complaining that he
felt so useless that he couldn't help. So the only person complaining
was doing it because he wanted to work. I thought that was pretty
awesome. After we finished up we headed to our new hotel to check
in for a day of relaxing and reflecting. The hotel is extremely nice and
will be a great way to end the trip. Great job to the group!!!!!

Tina rocking it at the Hygiene table

Junior and Tony. They drove the bus and helped set up and
take down everything throughout the week. We LOVE them!

This is Austin. He came last year with his school class and
had such an amazing life changing experience that he got a tattoo
when he got home to remember this special experience. We
thought it was so awesome that a week long trip doing what
we did had so much impact on someone. It says 1,2,3 equipo which
is what we say every morning before starting the day. Equipo means Team.

We LOVE Dr. Patricia

Roy doing some amazing cases. He really changed some
peoples lives today with the smiles he fixed.


Angel putting Smiles for Life tattoo on a little girl

The most adorable kid of the trip. No one could stop holding him
and kissing him. He was sooo beautiful.

Comment by Anni Banfield on September 10, 2011 at 9:37am
Safe travels home to all of you.. Great Job.!!
Comment by Ralph Kelsey on September 8, 2011 at 3:43pm
GREAT WORK everyone - you have changed lives for the better in many ways and can soon burst through the finish line ribbon feeling proud of your efforts. The only change I'm concerned about is Dr Hoyal's hair - was it dark at the start of the trip?? Mine was a little lighter in shade and volume after the Harley ride!! :-))))))
Comment by CROWN COUNCIL on September 8, 2011 at 8:28am

Day 6

Another great day in the Dominican! Today went smoothly and
everyone worked so hard to see the 87 patients that were there.
It's interesting to see how many problems there are with the people
in Puerta Plata. The cleanings are extensive and they all have
a lot of work that needs to be done. I spoke with a hygienist who
mentioned that more than half of them have root tip problems
because they had pulled out their own tooth and pieces were left.
Can you imagine pulling out your own tooth because of the pain?
The town we were in was really poor and the people were
so fun and kind and gracious. It was also REALLY hot
but thank heavens for the fans. They save us. :)

Our work site.

Tony, Julian, and Jonathan. A few of the guys who help us with
anything we need.

Morning Huddle. Pam gave a beautiful thought on Gratitude.

The Horton Team who is always laughing and they all work
so incredible hard.

Dr. Hoyal has been amazing on this trip. I love this picture
Christa playing with the kids

2 little girls watching the action taking place inside

Sterlization Crew. Christa and Monique
Christa playing with the kids

2 little girls watching the action taking place inside

Sterlization Crew. Christa and Monique

Dr. Maria and Coleman. A great team!

Dr. Koby working her magic on extractions as usual.

I love this picture. This man was so sweet.

Shane at our check out station. He is working with Esperanza
for about six months and says he wants to come back on every trip
we ever do. He has had such a good time and has helped so much.

I had just painted this little girls nails and she walked around
showing everyone who would look. It was adorable.

Then after the day of work we had a little program hosted by
Roy and Glenda Hammond. This picture is of the Dominican Dentists
and Hygienists that came on the trip. We have all really bonded with them.
They are such hard workers and so fun to be around. We also gave out other
awards and then sang a few songs that are the Hammond family favorites to
end the night. We are excited for our day tomorrow and will work
hard because its our last day. We are tired but our spirits are up and we
all feel incredibly blessed to be a part of this journey.
Comment by CROWN COUNCIL on September 7, 2011 at 9:38am

Day 5

Today was such a wonderful day! After yesterday we needed a
good weather day and we got it! We weren't able to get to the little
town we were going to in the bus so we had to board a safari jeep
and drive in that way. It was such a unique experience to drive
through these dirt roads that were so small and so rough. The
town we went to is so far back in the mountains. When it rains they get
trapped in their village so it can be really scary. The mountains
made the air feel a lot cooler and we made sure to set up in the shade.
It felt wonderful compared to yesterday. Everyone worked so hard
and we were able to see 90 patients. It was hard work though because
the teeth were so dirty and there were so many problems. We will be
coming back in November in the next Smiles for Life trip
to help the rest of the people we didn't get to.
This picture below is our Safari vehicle. What a new experience

Our set up for the day
The gorgeous view from where we worked
Could that face be any sweeter?

Roy helping one of the Dental Students Mayerling work on a


Jocelyn and her patient

Pam cleaned this guys teeth and Roy fixed them. This is before
This is the finished product
He was so annoyed because everyone had
been taking his picture and when I finally got to him he had
had it. :)
I love this picture of Lindsay. She had two little girls that were twins
that were her little assistants throughout the day. This little
girl is helping put flouride on her moms teeth. So cute
The famous Dr. Horton Team
We were majorly packed in tight on the way home in the big
safari truck. This is us after we had finished the day
And this is one of the little twins that ran after us. She was missing
her new friends.
Sidenote: Not only do we work hard in the Dominican Republic but
we have a lot of fun. This is a video of something really funny we
witnessed this morning between our dearest friend Tony who has driven the
bus for us for years and Juston. Who knew that Juston knew how to lasso and
Tony was so funny. This all happened so fast
and sporatic that I was glad i had my camera out.
Click here to watch
Comment by Ralph Kelsey on September 6, 2011 at 3:38pm

Gidday all y'all mates from the Land Down Under!

What a wonderful way to show gratitude and share your gifts. GREAT work under tough conditions - and all I did was sit on a Harley with Roy and the gang and cruise around beautiful countryside! The Dominican experience is on my "bucket list", so beware of a stray dingo in the near future!! Great piccies Annie (glad you didn't catch me on the "stolen" Harley!!!!!) - I'll be showing your Dominican effort at our Team Meeting in a few days. GO you good things!!

Comment by Tina Havard on September 6, 2011 at 12:04pm
It has been awesome watching the Dominican Team!  I look forward to checking in every day to see what wonderful things you have accomplished.  Thank you for inspiring me to always maintain an attitude of service!
Comment by Claudia Hull on September 6, 2011 at 10:28am
Wow!! You guys are so amazing!!!
Comment by CROWN COUNCIL on September 6, 2011 at 9:10am

Day 4

Our team earns a big applause today! They were amazing
and despite our circumstances came through and worked their
tails off. We experienced the hottest day yet in our Dominican Smiles
for Life trips. It was excruciating. We were all outside underneath
tents. There was nowhere else to go. We later found out that tarp white tents
attract heat. So not only was the weather as hot as it gets, but the tents were
attracting more heat and there was no breeze. It was definitely a struggle for
all. We even had two Dominican patients faint. Not because of pain or being
worked on but because of the heat. But despite all of that there was no
complaining for a second. Everyones spirits were high and like I mentioned
before, they worked so hard. Teamwork is very strong with this group.
Not only do people work so well together but everyone is always laughing
and making things so much fun. It really is a special thing to see. We finally
had to finish about a half hour early because we were worried about our group
and wanted them to be in their best shape for the next three days.
I am so proud of everyone for all that was accomplished.


Our set up for the day. Hygiene, Dentists, Sterilization, and Check out



Our morning huddle.


Dr. Charlie gave us a very inspiring morning message about serving
and how when doing it you love the people you are serving and how
you love the people you are serving with. He has been on this trip
four years now and his experiences here have really touched his life.

Dr. Amy and Alissia rocking it in style.
Pam and her new little boyfriend Manuel

Dr. Chris and his team and one of their patients. Dr. Hoyal was a
champ today. Not only did he work on patients all day
but he was helping the Dominican Dentists and taught
one of them some great new techniques and was so
patient and kind with them.
Our Sterilzation team. (Josie had to stand on a chair. :))

Our favorite Dr. Patricia
Rosa and her good way of keeping herself cool
My new friend Anna. She was so adorable and spoke perfect
English. She brought all her grandchildren to get their teeth
worked on. She was so sweet.
I love this picture because it is an older Dominican Dental Student
working on her patient and she called over two younger Dominican
Dental Students to teach them something about what she was doing.
How neat to see them learning and teaching as well.
Wish us luck tomorrow.... We are all praying for rain. :)
Comment by Robyn Tisdale on September 5, 2011 at 5:23pm
You guys are truly inspirational!  Keep safe and Annie we are LOVING your blog!

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