SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) – Dozens of runners braved the scorching heat this morning to run just over 3 miles in Ava.
It wasn’t all just for fun. They did it to help children in several 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 Dental Director Dr. Sybil Fortner.
The health organization operates a dental bus to care for 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 a toothache and haven’t been able to take care of it. We are 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, the health organization’s chief financial officer, says: “It’s an investment fund that we use. In reality, you are simply looking to reap the benefits of the funds we have invested. Then use it to benefit the community and the 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 the kids,” said runner Karry Davis.
Race participant Robin Wheeler said: “I have 17 grandchildren. It’s always good to help kids.”
“This year I am 77 years old. It was challenging for me, but I try to work all year round to stay in shape,” said runner Carol Turner.
Nurse Shari Cook also participated in the competition.
“It’s great 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 show up and take care of the kids the way I want to. This is like a dream come true,” she said.
Contest winners were awarded $100 Visa gift cards. Some donated their winnings to the Missouri Ozarks Children’s Health Fund.
The organization raised more than $1,000 on Saturday.
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