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Serving Those in Need: Notes from the Annual Wise Free Health Fair

By Mike Signer | July 25, 2011 | No Comments

This past weekend saw the 12th Annual Wise Virginia Free Health Fair, co-sponsored by Stan Brock’s Remote Area Medical and by the Missions of Mercy of the Virginia Dental Foundation. In 2009 Gov. Tim Kaine and his wife Anne Holton volunteered and registered patients, and the past two years have seen visits by Senator Mark Warner and Governor Bob McDonnell. The Washington Post featured a long article about the fair last year.

Noted DailyKos blogger Ken “TeacherKen” Bernstein of Arlington visits the fair to volunteer every year.  He filmed this short video on Sunday with Dr. Wallace Huff, a longtime dentist volunteer, on his cell phone.

According to Ken, “What makes the event works is the willingness of medical and dental professionals to devote their services.”

Wallace Huff, DDS, of Blacksburg, VA, is a former president of the Virginia Dental Association, and has never missed being at Wise, even in 2010 when he came down a day late because he was serving as a pallbearer for one of his patients.  According to Ken:

“Wallace Huff is as fine and caring a human being as I have ever met.  I have worked with him all three years, although in 2010 he did not come up until Saturday because he was serving as a pallbearer for a former patient.  During this year’s fair Carol Pratt told one patient he was helping that he was in the hands of the best dentist in Virginia.  His patients think the world of him as was indicated by his being asked to be a pallbearer.  Patients he has dealt with at previous Fairs at Wise come back to seek him out.”

In the video, Wallie Huff tells why he is at Wise, and why this is so important.  These dental fairs are a particular innovation driven by the gaps in our health care system, the needs of so many vulnerable Virginians — and also the wisdom and grace of medical professionals willing to donate their services.  It’s a Virginia story worth telling again and again.

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