Missouri Ozarks Community Health raises money for mobile dental clinic serving children in rural areas

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) – Dozens of runners braved the sweltering heat this morning to run a little over 3 miles in Ava.

It wasn’t all just for fun. They did it to help kids in a few rural counties in the Ozarks get the dental care they need.

“It’s like a mobile dental office on wheels,” said Missouri Ozarks Community Health’s Dental Director Dr. Sybil Fortner.

The health organization uses a dental bus to get care to children in need in Ozark, Texas, Wright, and Douglas Counties at no cost.

“Some of these kids may not have transportation to get to the brick and mortar clinic. Maybe they’re in the nurse’s office with toothaches and haven’t been able to get it taken care of. We’re able to address a lot of that need,” explained Fortner.

Missouri Ozarks Community Health relies on their children’s health fund to pay for services.

Randall Gann chief financial officer for the health organization says, “It’s an investment fund that we use. Realistically you’re just looking to get the gains off of the funds that we invested. Then utilize that to benefit the community and children.”

Some of the money in that fund is raised by community events like Saturday’s Health Drive 5K walk/run.

“We love to support children,” said runner Karry Davis.

Race participant Robin Wheeler said, “I have 17 grandchildren. It’s always good to help the kids.”

“I’m 77 this year. It was challenging for me but I try to work on it all year around so I can stay in shape,” said runner Carol Turner.

Nurse practitioner Shari Cook also participated in the race.

“It’s good to be a part of that, giving back to the community,” she said.

Fortner says it gives doctors the ability to provide much needed care.

“All I do is get to show up and just take care of the kids like I want to do. This is kind of like a dream come true,” she said.

Race winners were given $100 Visa gift cards. Several donated their winnings to the Missouri Ozarks Children’s Health Fund.

The organization raised more than $1,000 on Saturday.

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