April 2020 marks the third year of free dental care provided by the Sea Island Rotary Smile Mobile.  Since Rotary International’s motto is “Service Above Self,” Rotarians are always seeking opportunities to serve their fellow man.  Several years ago, after volunteering with the South Carolina Dental Association’s DAD (Dental Access Day) project, Dr. Chuck Ingle and Dr. Edward Wise became acutely aware of the large number of people who, for various reasons, were unable to attain basic dental care in the Beaufort area.  Many would go for months and sometimes even years suffering from dental pain and infection.  This presented a unique opportunity for Sea Island Rotary Club to develop an ongoing service project which could have a huge impact on dental health in the community.
Dr. Ingle initiated the organization of the project and fortuitously learned that Beaufort/Jasper Comprehensive Health had just received a new two-chair mobile unit.  Working with Mr. Roland Gardner, Executive Director of BJCH, they developed an agreement which allowed the Sea Island Rotary Club to use the vehicle monthly on Saturdays for their “Smile Mobile Clinic.”  BJCH generously agreed to maintain the truck and equipment while the Sea Island Rotary took care of supplying volunteer dentists and all other expenses. 
The Smile Mobile became a reality in 2017.  Since its auspicious beginning, the clinic has treated over 266 patients and provided dental services worth $132,000.  Sources of funding have been provided through the Sea Island Rotary’s annual “Shrimp Race,” held during the Beaufort Shrimp Festival in October, as well as through cash donations from Access Health Lowcountry Grants, Bluffton/Jasper Volunteers in Medicine, Lowcountry Rotary, United Way, Dentistry@ Habersham, and Marshlands II Family Dentistry. 
The participating doctors are all volunteers, and without their generous contribution of time and talent, the project would not be possible.   The Sea Island Rotary Club would like to recognize the following local dentists who have served in the clinic over the past three years: Dr. Ian Barnard, Dr. Ashley Covington, Dr. Chuck Ingle, Dr. Emerson Gower, Dr. Christian Greenwalt, Dr. Patrick Kline, Dr. Bob Koolkin, Dr. Michael Langehans, Dr. Chris Maly, Dr. Pete Smith, Dr. Charlie Wade, Dr. Will Waninger, Dr. Edward Wise, Dr. John Wise, and Dr. Bruce Wyles
Other individuals who from the very beginning have played vital roles in the program’s success are Mr. John Perrill, Ms. Debbie Slazyk, and the two permanent staff members, Mrs. Jennifer Gourdine and Mr. Ramsey Bythwood.  Mr. Perrill and Ms. Slazyk carry out most of the administrative tasks which keep the project running smoothly.  Mr. Perrill coordinates the non-clinical volunteers (mostly Rotarians from Sea Island Rotary) who take vital signs and register the patients. Ms. Slazyk handles the patient appointment scheduling as well as applying for and administering grants.  As the coordinator of clinical services, Mrs. Gourdine ensures that the clinic is run in the most efficient manner, ensuring sterilization of supplies, patient triage, and proficiency of radiographs. Mr. Bythwood serves as the transportation director.  He drives and maintains service of the Smile Mobile as well as helps out with registration and patient flow. 
Because the Smile Mobile is providing definitive treatment, it is necessary to limit the number of patients and work by appointment only.  The main sources of patients have been the ER at Beaufort Memorial Hospital, the Good Neighbor Medical Clinic, Bluffton/Jasper Volunteers in Medicine, and Access Health (which coordinates appointments). 
The Smile Mobile’s success has been made possible through the efforts of many dedicated volunteers.  In order to maintain the viability of the program over the long term, more volunteers are needed, particularly dentists – active or retired.  Anyone who would like to become a volunteer may contact Dr. Chuck Ingle at (843) 271-9672, email: or Dr. Ed Wise at (843) 812-0666, email  Working together, we can build a stronger and healthier community.