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POLAND — “I do not know that there is everything heroic about getting a dentist,” Dr. Donald Begezda claimed not long ago.
Nonetheless, hundreds of people on each sides of the Atlantic may possibly disagree.
Begezda grew up on Hazelwood Avenue on Youngstown’s West Side, just a several blocks from the Mahoning Avenue follow he took above from Dr. James Davidson, his childhood dentist.
“When I obtained out of the Military, he claimed, ‘Come on in. I can use you,’” Begezda said.
He joined the Military in 1979 immediately after graduating from The Ohio Condition University College or university of Dentistry. He commenced as a scientific dental officer at Fort Jackson, S.C., managing primarily simple trainees. He described this as a good learning knowledge for a younger dentist. They arrived from “all around the United States … and some from diverse sections of the state had hardly ever been to a dentist.”
In 1982, he desired to begin his have practice but was hesitant about leaving the military, so he joined the Army Reserve. He explained the regular monthly drills largely concerned coaching dental assistants as nicely as understanding how to function dental machines built for the battlefield, which necessitates the capacity to established it up and choose it apart immediately.
In addition, a two-week tour took put at the time a 12 months, commonly at an lively base.
“We would present up at the dental clinic and the commander there would be anticipating us. They’d have a space for us, and we’d go to work there and do no matter what they did at that certain dental clinic–just see patients and do dentistry,” Begezda reported.
In 2004, he was deployed to Iraq, where by he was the dental officer in demand at Forward Functioning Foundation Danger in Tikrit. He downplayed the volume of peril he faced, but he reported often mortar attacks would arrive near enough to shake the setting up.
1 day he and a health practitioner still left the eating hall earlier than typical to get back again to the clinic. Though he was brushing his teeth he heard many loud bangs. Enemy hearth hit specifically where by they experienced been walking just minutes ahead of. Alhtough no losses happened, numerous troopers sustained injuries.
In 2009, Begezda experienced his 2nd stint in Iraq, this time as deputy commander for clinical companies at Joint Base Balad. He explained this encounter as getting a little calmer and reported he was part of a a lot more settled and detailed professional medical facility.
Then in 2013, Begezda served as commander of the 912th Dental Firm Detachments in Afghanistan. He flew among hospitals at Bagram Air Pressure Base and Kandahar to make guaranteed the dental clinics ran easily and proficiently. He remembered looking down at a village isolated by mountains and wanting to know how they got food and materials. He also was responsible for triage in situation there ended up so several casualties that he would have to “pitch in and enable sorting patients,” which the good news is did not transpire when he was there.
Begezda explained the mother nature of his work abroad as using treatment of small emergencies, this kind of as toothaches and unfastened fillings, so troopers could return to lively duty in a working day or two.
“My mission was dentistry. The other men and women have their mission, and we have to make positive they can continue. The principal reason the dentist is there is to act as the human being who can keep them from currently being taken off from their job,” he explained.
In 2015, Begezda retired from the Reserves following a military job of 36 several years. Begezda explained his time in the Military as a constructive working experience that gave him early palms-on schooling and permitted him room to expand as a skilled. He relished meeting people today from all around the region and traveling to areas these types of as Panama, Honduras, Belgium and Germany.
He mentioned he would advise the armed service for young dentists as a excellent way to begin a vocation, as they can attain know-how without obtaining to buy devices and hire an business office.
“You have a great deal of people who have to have a whole lot of treatment. … I beloved every minute of it,” Begezda claimed.
Dr. Donald Begezda
Service Branch: Army and Army Reserves
Navy HONORS: Legion of Benefit, Meritorious Services Medal, Military Commendation Medals, Army Accomplishment Medal, Expert Field Health-related Badge
Loved ones: None
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