Freedom Day An Opportunity to Say Thank You to VeteransAug 31, 2016 10:30AM ● By Jennifer Monahan
Babcock Dental staff
For Dr. Joanne Tovissi, a dentist at Babcock Dental Center, P.C., the decision to celebrate Freedom Day by offering free dental exams, cleanings and X-rays to military veterans was an easy one. Tovissi has six cousins who attended the U. S. Naval Academy and a nephew who is a current Navy SEAL. One of Babcock’s hygienists is married to an Army veteran who served in Somalia.
Freedom Day USA is a national event started by dentists who wanted to give back to the military and to others who sacrifice to keep their communities safe. Freedom Day USA typically takes place on the second Thursday in September, and has evolved to include other businesses that want to thank members of the military whose service guarantees freedom for the rest of the nation.
This year’s free dental care event will take place on Friday, Sept. 16, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Babcock Dental Center offices on Babcock Boulevard in Ross Township.
The practice will be offering complimentary basic dental care to military veterans, active duty military and first responders, as well as to each individual’s immediate family members.
Babcock Dental Center has a tradition of community involvement. Its staff had previously participated in Give Kids a Smile, which provides free dental care to children in need. Because of the connection Tovissi and her colleagues felt to the military, however, she and her partner, Dr. Elena Kureichyk, decided to focus their efforts in 2015 on Freedom Day. They have committed to honoring current members of the military, military veterans and first responders again this year, Tovissi said, because they want them to realize how much people appreciate their service to the country.
“The event is a work in progress,” explained Tovissi, who hopes that it will continue to grow. Although this will be Babcock Dental’s second year celebrating the event, she said that Freedom Day has not yet gained real momentum in the Pittsburgh area, and she hopes that other businesses will learn about the event and come up with their own ways to honor community heroes.
While not necessarily connected to Freedom Day, a number of Pittsburgh-area organizations have found ways to show their appreciation for veterans by providing ongoing special offers and discounts. The Western Pennsylvania Humane Society created a Vets Adoption Program which provides free pet adoption and obedience classes, along with reduced fees for pets’ medical needs. The Gateway Clipper Fleet and the Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium offer free admission to military personnel and veterans. Kennywood, the Carnegie Science Center and Museums, and the Pittsburgh Pirates and Penguins offer discounts for active duty military and veterans.
Whether through a specific gesture like Babcock Dental’s Freedom Day event each September or through special discounts available to those in the military, Pittsburgh-area businesses are going the extra mile to demonstrate their thanks to those whose serve their country. More information about Freedom Day USA is available at www.freedomdayusa.org.