The T.L. Gilmer Dental Society is the five county western Illinois component of the American Dental Association, comprised of approximately 55 general and specialty dentists.
The Give Kids A Smile® name was first used by the Greater St. Louis Dental Society and a group of dentists who set up a temporary full-service clinic that treated nearly 400 children over two days in February 2002. It is now coordinated by the American Dental Association.
Since then the program has grown to a national scale, resulting in the treatment of nearly 6 million children. Events take place at over 2000 locations across the nation, with over 137,000 dentists and over 420,000 other volunteers, providing free services to underserved children. And these are just the ones we know about. Literally countless charitable acts go on every single day in the United States relative to dentistry by individuals, many of whom will remain unsung. Many of these donations of time and professional skills take place every day in Quincy and the surrounding communites.
Bringing oral healthcare to children where it is not a priority in their household is not a problem the government will fix alone. It will take all of us working together to solve this problem. GKAS has grown because of the commitment and energy of many. Our program in Quincy is an opportunity to educate families, provide resources and improve the health of the western Illinois community.
Among the unsung heroes in western Illinois is Dot Foods of Mt. Sterling. Dot Foods, through their charitable giving program, is the reason we are able to conduct this event. Providing dental care is a very expensive endeavor, and without them this event would be unable to continue.
It would not be an overstatement to say that 2020 was a unique year for everyone, GKAS-Quincy included! With the pandemic upon on us for most of the year, the delivery venue and format were changed. Rather than seeing the kiddos for a one-day “big-bash event” at the Health Dept., as we had for 13 years, we saw children in 12 volunteer offices all throughout the year.
On the negative side, we were not able to bus in schoolchildren en masse. On the positive side, we were not limited in the time with them, therefore we were not limited in the treatment that could be provided to each child. For this reason, the ‘per child dollar value’ of the free care was $582 in 2020, whereas the average over the prior three years was $375 of donated treatment per child.
Totals for 2020: 79 area children were seen, with a community dollar value of $46,000 in free treatment provided. In the 14 years in Quincy, area dentists have provided 2174 children with over $879,000 in free dental care. This contributes to the national total of over 6 million children, and over $300 million in donated care from Give Kids a Smile.
The 13th Annual event was held Friday February, 8, 2019, at the Adams Co. Health Dept.
The 12th Annual event was held Friday February 9, 2018, at the Adams Co. Health Dept.
The 11th Annual event was held on Friday, February 6, 2017 at the Adams Co. Health Dept.
The 10th Annual event was held on Friday, February 5, 2016 at the Adams Co. Health Dept.
The 9th Annual event was held on Friday, February 6, 2015 at the Adams Co. Health Dept. Volunteers welcomed the return of a beautiful -- but snow/ice free-- event day in 2015!
The 8th annual event was held on Friday, February 7, 2014, at the Adams Co. Health Dept. The 2014 event recognized Phil Caldwell, of Goetze Dental Co., who passed away November 1, 2013. Phil was a tireless team member for our prior events, coming early and staying late, to set up and fix equipment. Without a doubt, these events would not have been as organized and successful had it not been for Phil. In addition to his knowledge of dental equipment, he was a genuinely nice man. He will be sorely missed. The 2014 event was the first to suffer the effects of school closures, and reduced attendance due to snow and ice.
The 7th annual event was held on Friday, February 8, 2013 at the Adams Co. Health Dept. Fred Hildenbrand, dedicated volunteer and husband of Goetze Dental Co. rep Kaye, passed away a week before the event. Fred was a very generous and fun-loving man who will be missed by all.
The 6th annual event took place Friday, February 3, 2012 at the Adams Co. Health Dept.
The 5th annual event was held on February 11, 2011 at the Adams Co. Health Dept. Dr. Bunger, of Quincy, who passed away in the summer of 2010, was a dedicated participant with Illinois mission events. He was very active with organized dentistry statewide, and he will be missed by many, particularly here in western Illinois.
The 4th Annual T.L. Gilmer Give Kids A Smile Day was held in honor of Dr. Larry Macon, of Brown County, who passed away in the fall of 2009. Dr. Macon was an enthusiastic supporter of mission dentistry. He will be sorely missed by his many friends in western Illinois.
The 3rd Annual T.L. Gilmer Give Kids A Smile Day was held in 2009. It was dedicated to the memory of a special friend, Wendy Fitzgerel of Kansas City. Wendy gave generously of her time in helping launch Give Kids a Smile in western Illinois in 2007. Sadly, she passed away in the fall of 2008.