Royal LePage Performance Realty Brokers Volunteer
Royal LePage is pleased to share the outstanding volunteer efforts of Eric Van Hofwegen, a Commercial Real Estate Broker for Royal LePage Performance Realty. He and Charlene, a dental hygienist from Ottawa, joined Health Teams International for a week of volunteering medical services to those in Cabarete, Dominican Republic.
The team was set up in a facility originally built as a funeral home with no running water for much of the time. Lines of people began waiting at 6 o’clock in the morning in anticipation for the doors to open at 9 am for the free medical, vision and dental treatment.
During the 5.5 days of work, Charlene treated over 120 adults & children by performing debridement of plaque and tartar deposits. She and Eric also educated those who visited with oral hygiene care instructions with the help of a translator. The people receiving the service were very grateful, as most had never had dental treatment of any kind previously. To the disbelief of volunteers, a woman of 67 years of age, who also smoked was surprisingly caries free, and had only endured a tremendous amount of stain and deposits. The first day and a half the team was without dental power tools as the energy was so unreliable it caused the portable compressors to overheat. Thankfully this was sorted out by connecting to a gas generator for the remainder of the week. The very first patient Charlene had treated returned at the end of their stay to show and encourage others of the improvement in his tissue health by following the cleaning routine! This was a great reassurance to both the hard working volunteers and the community.
The Health Teams International group of volunteers included 2 physicians, 2 nurses, 2 dentists, a dental assistant & a dental hygienist, as well as a vision expert, and many helpers! Overall the team was able to treat well over 1500 people during the 5.5 day stay.
The dental team was led by Dr. Tom Harle from the Prosthetic Dental Care Clinic in Ottawa. He is the President of Health Teams International and the Director of the Ottawa Mission Dental Clinic, as well as Founder of PODS (Portable Ottawa Dental Service) where he provides free dental services to pregnant or homeless teens of Ottawa. For more information, or to donate visit tomeharle.com