The Community Foundation will be able to make two additional awards this year through the Charles L. and Dorothy Weaver Orthodontic program, which Dr. Weaver and his wife established to provide services for children who have a severe need for orthodontics, but cannot afford corrective braces.
Traditionally, funding from the Weaver’s endowed fund provides service for three applicants. Additional funds became available this year and, with the services donated by each participating orthodontist, two additional regional applicants are guaranteed awards. Currently, 49 applicants from across the Ozarks are being screened for the five awards.
Dr. Mark Dake of West Plains and Dr. Steve Harrison, who has offices in Springfield and Rolla, see all applicants living outside Greene County, which is served by Springfield’s orthodontists.
Dr. Dake was a personal friend of Dr. Weaver’s; he moved to West Plains shortly after Dr. Weaver’s death. Dr. Dake said he joined the program because he was moved by Dr. Weaver’s generosity and felt his participation in the Weaver Program would be a way he could give back to the community and honor Dr. Weaver’s generosity and service to the West Plains region. Dr. Dake is very involved with his church and West Plains’ civic organizations, and also has offices in Houston and Mountain Grove, Mo., and Mountain Home and Highland, Ark.
Dr. Harrison serves many geographic areas as well, with offices in both Springfield and Rolla. He was eager to become one of the participating orthodontists in the program and volunteered to take patients both in the Springfield and central Missouri area through his Rolla office.
“One of the most exciting things about orthodontics is that what we do lasts a child a lifetime,” Dr. Harrison says. “Orthodontics is one of the few medical or dental services where the end result is better than what the child started with. The real reward is watching the faces of the child and parents as they see before and after pictures.”
Dr. Harrison makes a practice of providing services at his own cost for several children in the group he is given to screen so that the Weaver program can serve more children in addition to the five grant awards.
Each orthodontist in this year’s rotation will screen the applicants they have been assigned throughout the summer. The Springfield orthodontists participating this year are Dr. Wesley Allai, Dr. Robert Becker, and Dr. Frank Sharp.
Based on the severity of need for correction, the five orthodontists will each choose a student who will start treatment as the school year begins. Since the inception of the program, many of the participating orthodontists not only treat a Weaver award recipient, but choose to treat additional children at their own expense each year.