As I write this epistle, I am sitting in Perdido Key, Florida, gazing at a cobalt blue ocean with waves lapping in the sand. The sky is blue, there's not a cloud in sight, and the room I am sitting in is now is quieter than it has been all morning. I hear the sound of little feet on their way to the swimming pool, so maybe I will have a few moments of silence in which to put my thoughts on paper.
We, as dentists, no matter where we live, are blessed to be members of a profession that is a very important part of the health care team. If we don't do anything but relieve pain, think of what a blessing that is for the person seated in our chair and how it improves his or her quality of life. One dentist even gave his life for the betterment of people in Afghanistan. This is the ultimate gift! (I will come back to this later.)
Having served the past three years as President of this Foundation has been a rewarding and challenging experience. Being elected to this office by your peers is awesome! I could not have asked for more cooperation from the Board of Trustees. Many times we have had different opinions about how to proceed or deal with a specific grant; however, in the final analysis, the action we took was in the best interest of the people we serve and the Foundation.
The decision to "go outside the box," so to speak, which was made a couple of years ago, was a giant step in the life of this Foundation. In the coming years, we will aggressively pursue a program aimed at corporation donations. Our Executive Director, Mrs. Jennifer Teale, has special expertise and experience in the field of fund-raising. Jennifer has been a pleasure to work with and at this moment is hard at work developing a new Web site for the Foundation that will be available to all of you through an external link on the Academy's Web site. This new program is not a dream, but one that will become a reality. It will in turn increase our portfolio, which will enable the funding of more grants and increase the dollar amount of scholarship checks to third-year dental students. Fifty-one grant applications have been received this year, and approximately 72 checks were mailed to students. Brochures have been developed to tell others who we are and what we do. These are available to Section Chairs and other Fellows who request them.
I hope to see you at the Awards Luncheon on October 10, 2011, at which time we will honor the memory and work of Dr. Thomas Grams, who was killed by the Taliban in Afghanistan. His parents and twin brother, Tim, and his wife will be our guests. In his will, Dr. Grams left the Foundation $50,000, for which we are very thankful. These funds will enable us to continue the work that he started, maybe not in Afghanistan, but in other parts of the world for people who have never seen a toothbrush.
The past three years have been rewarding for me, and I will always treasure them. The last three Presidents of the Academy, Dr. Eller, Dr. Hedlund, and Dr. Ouvrard, have been very gracious and a pleasure to work with. Fellows, we can sit back and watch the world go by, or we can help shape the future.
Dr. Jim Long
President of the Foundation of the Pierre Fauchard Academy