For Father's Day we wanted to give a deserving father within our local community a prize that would forever change their life. We asked for nominations detailing why they should win and how this procedure would change their life. We received hundreds and hundreds of amazing, heartfelt nominations. We would be lying if we said it was easy to pick a winner, because we do truly wish we could give this prize to everyone. There are so many wonderful fathers, grandfathers, brothers, uncles, and role models within our community that go without recognition everyday. Just like our Mother's Day giveaway, we couldn't just choose one. So we are also awarding a first and second runner up.
So without further adieu, please take a moment to learn about our wonderful winners!
1st Place Winner of the Complete Smile Makeover
Jeff received countless nominations from family members and friends that truly gave us insight into the kind of person Jeff is, and boy do we think he deserves this prize. It is so wonderful to have someone like Jeff right here in our community taking care of others before taking care of himself. Below you will find just one of the many nominations we received. We wish we could post them all but there are just too many.
First and foremost, I want you to know that Jeff’s heart and character are bigger than the Truck he drives. The truck tires are 12 1/2 feet tall and is 29 feet wide and 51 feet long, a total of 1500 square feet, it’s capable of carrying up to 320 tons at once, a loaded truck weighs in at more than a million pounds. During the years I known Jeff he has been every bit of such strength for his friends and family. He never quits moving and giving.
Jeff is nearing 59 years of age and is a wonderful husband, a great father of seven and a good friend to all that meet and know him. His past giving enables a trusted future for him to be the first to help and the last to abandon.
My earliest recollection of him is on the football field almost forty years ago. He was a year younger than me and a little smaller, he was a junior at the time playing in one of his first High school varsity games. I was a senior and played as a linebacker and was calling the defensive coverages on the field. My charge was the strong outside corner, but I had just missed a key tackle on an end around run. As I laid on the field watching the runner’s backside start to streak and fearing he was going to clip off another twenty or forty yards, Jeff comes out of the blue and just cracks the runner out of bounds denying the other a team a big first down. Like it or not I had to admit that a smaller corner back saved me, and little did I know then, that was just Jeff being Jeff. Turns out that coming out of the blue to help others cover down falls is a just a natural way of life for him. Simply that is who he is. The only problem is that his help usually comes with that stupid smile, or I guess you’d say that it’s more of a grin, which emanates his good nature, it’s the same one he gave me as I looked up at him as I laid there on the grass, without words it was saying “Hey, I’ve got your back, get up”. But it’s that stupid smile that wins your heart as he always there extending his hand down to help anyone up.
I’m not one to share many sentiments especially about my male peers particularly those about my same age. I’ve always looked to those men that were in my father’s generation as mentors and role models. But where Jeff is concerned that general rule is broken. He truly stands a role model of a good God-fearing man. It’s a funny thing in life when you meet a good guy there is just something small, and different inside your mind and its more than a thought nor what you might call a voice, I guess some would say an intuition (if guy’s can even have intuitions) that say’s this is “good man, one to be trusted and one that you’ll call a friend”. It’s the same as what I felt from the moment I met Dr. Phillips. I never thought I would ever say or tell other people that I love my dentist, but that’s exactly what I’ve done, it’s true about Dr. Shane he is the best, and just like Jeff there is a confidence conveyed without words that says “Hey, I’ve got your back”.
After football & High school, I left on an LDS mission. During that time Jeff met my kid cousin and you can pretty much guess where that went. She was my little sister’s age and growing up the two them were inseparable, so she was more like a little sister than a cousin to me. She and Jeff married and naturally we became good friends. My only brother (who was Jeff’s age) had died at age twelve and during the past near forty years Jeff has become the one man I would consider most as a brother. Never have I seen him but himself first ahead of any other person.
There are truly many reasons why Jeff deserves to win. More than any other person I have known he best defines and lives the role of the “Good Samaritan”. There have been many in his path which to my knowledge he has never stepped around. On September 11th, 2001, I lost my career of twenty-three years and was financially ruined as the World Trade Center collapsed and fell to the ground. I felt like a complete failure as it was an event that devasted many other aspects of my family life. Jeff was the first to extend an immediate hand by asking my help with a side business of lawn mowing. He had built up a good number of clients and would mow on his off days and afternoons. I knew he was waking up at 3:30 or 4:00 am to start his then full-time job of delivering bread to stores and then would work those extra hours on the lawns to better provide for his family. It might not seem like much to invite someone else to help mow lawns, but there is allot more than a pay check when someone extends their hand and says come on let’s get going and move on together. Just like that first tackle he made for me, it may have seemed like a small thing to others, but his out of the blue timing once again was right-on. I knew that he had for years easily mowed those same lawns with just he and his son and did not need my help. It seemed that he hadn’t even taken a second thought of suddenly splitting his earnings with me. He then found and secured a full-time job for me with a new construction cleaning crew. He treated me as a true friend and a brother.
I later watched him be unfaltering in helping his own brother whom was diagnosed with paranoia schizophrenia. He made time each day to check-in with a call to speak with him to see how he was, and Jeff made sure to visit him at least two or three times a week. His brother died not long ago, and he stood strong for his widowed mother and siblings.
[Paragraph omitted for the respect and privacy of those involved in this incident that was included in the orginial nomination.]
We also have witnessed Jeff step in and help another sister-in law move from Michigan back to Utah and put her life back together because of divorce with an unfaithful husband. Once more Jeff has stood as a stabilizing influence as he assisted with some of the needs of her young children. He gave allot more than just financial support as he helped their younger children put their lives’ back together.
Jeff and his wife Jerri welcomed her widowed mother into their home where they nursed her back to health through two heart attacks and a couple of heart surgeries. Jeff and Jerri truly sacrificed time and financial means to nurse and care for her during the years preceding her eventual death two years ago.
I could go on about so many others he has put first, but the amazing thing about all of this, is that Jeff served others as he himself suffered two separate strokes (years apart) and through an accident at work that has eventually lost the major portion of his vision in one eye. The first stroke seized his speech and balance as he had to relearn to talk and annunciate with proper therapy. As with all severe stroke side effects, progress come slowly, he also had to learn to properly walk again. It was a hard blow for him but he held strong against each challenge.
His life will be greatly changed if he should win. Right now, the only teeth he has left are all mostly lose, and he is in pain most of the time. He recently showed his teeth to me as we spoke about what I just recently went through with Dr Shane. When he started to wiggle the front ones, I alright, alright I’ve seen enough. It made me just shake my head and quickly back away as I couldn’t understand how he has gone this long without help. I truly feel Jeff is a perfect candidate for the four in one makeover. His mouth and teeth are considerably worse than what mine were.
I feel the greatest change he will have in his life will be the fact of the assurance that he will be able to work another six years until his retirement, so he can receive his full pension. I know that he has a great concern of being able to hang on to his truck driving position especially now that his vision is significantly impaired in the one eye and his depth perception is so important. If the serious problem with his mouth can be resolved potential heart and other health issues caused by his infected poisoning teeth will be avoided. So, his person health will be the best change of life for him. After always giving to others he truly needs to make it to his retirement so that he can take care of his wife and himself in the years to come after all those years of taking care of so many others.
This makeover will truly change his life by relieving his constant pain and concern for his own health and the nagging stress that it needs to somehow get resolved. He has tried to hide his concern all these years and he will hopefully finally be taken care of. Please, I beg of you to seriously consider Jeff as the prize candidate, the one worthy of your caring generosity. Please let your gift to him and his family “Come out the Blue” and let him know that “Hey, we’ve got your back, get up let move on together”. And please, please fix that stupid smile, even though it wins your heart. I’m sure your whole team will know he was the right one as you meet him and as you extend your hand to help one heck of a good guy.
Thanks for your consideration, your kindness and generosity, these are incredible attributes coming from what I consider as the best dental group I’ve ever had the pleasure of coming to know.
1st Runner Up - $5,000 off any dental treatment
Guy was also nominated by numerous friends and family members and he is definetly the type of 'guy' you would want to have in your life. Read one of his many nominations below.
My siblings and I are all so grateful for the opportunity to nominate our amazing dad for the smile makeover. I have been thinking about this letter for the past few weeks. I have wanted to be able to truly describe the wonderful, extremely generous and hard workingman that is our father. It has been a time of reflection and sweet feelings as I have remembered his sacrifice and influence in our lives. My dad's name is Guy Russell. He is 65 years old. He is friendly and kind and fun and sweet and a Sasquatch enthusiast.
The reasons that we all think my dad deserves to win are because he is the most hard working and selfless person we know. My dad has worked since childhood. He always had 2, on occasion 3 jobs. His earliest jobs were shining shoes and picking in fields. He has worked in a steel plant, for a trucking company, construction, building furniture and so many more, finally working for 30 years with the telephone company. He served for 17 years in the US Army Reserves as a medic and when necessary he would work part time jobs from after hours hardware store clerk to having a paper route. My dad’s work was so hard on his body. He worked outdoors rain, snow or shine. He would work in sewers that were only 4ft tall so he would have to crouch down for hours at a time. The sewers were so bad on his lungs. He would cough for days after he had worked in them and it was as if the fumes were still coming out of his body. Many times he would work for 24 hours straight and on occasion it would be 48. He would come home sometimes in the winter so cold that he couldn’t get warm. He would soak in a hot bath and fall asleep in it. Working for the phone company for so many years affected his hearing as well. We most often need to tap his shoulder to get his attention. If he is looking at us its easier to understand because he has gotten very good at reading lips. He was saving up for new teeth when his hearing was getting worse and worse so he used the money for hearing aids.
My dad isn’t a tragic or sad person; he is the opposite. He is happy and fun and loves to help others. My dad makes friends with everyone he meets. I remember once when I was high school, for about a week my dad asked me to make an extra sandwich for his lunch. When he said he didn’t need 2 sandwiches anymore I asked about it. He said he wasn’t working in a certain neighborhood anymore. That didn’t make sense so I pressed him for more info. He said “Well, there was a guy on the corner who needed some food.” He had befriended a homeless man (which my dad would never refer to anyone that way, to him people are genuinely people not a label) and shared a lunch and a visit with him everyday for a week while he worked on that job. That is just Guy. He is always making friends and lending an ear to all who need it. And the wonderful part is that he is sincerely interested. It makes him so happy to see others happy. He gets true, pure joy by being kind. There are many people in the world that get dismissed by others because they aren’t interesting or beautiful or intelligent enough. My dad listens to everyone and makes friends with all people. He makes everyone around him feel loved.
My dad like many, many people he worked with lost most of his retirement savings when the CEO of the company he worked for, Qwest, was found guilty of insider trading in company stock on April 19, 2007. He was so sad. My dad has had many temporal strikes against him in his 65 years of life but he always keeps a positive attitude and expresses how grateful he is for the things that he has. He is so glad to be healthy and have a wonderful family that he loves so much. He and my mom currently live in a one-bedroom apartment in North Salt Lake. They are happy and want for nothing except, I think, new teeth.
I don't ever remember my dad having teeth that worked. He has always had dentures of some kind or other. At present he has, I think, 4 or 6 real teeth that are broken and misshapen. He has broken "partials", as he calls them, that he superglues together. It took me awhile to realize that he was super gluing his teeth. He is extremely private never complains or wants anyone to know if he is in need of anything. He had mentioned a few times that he needed to get some superglue and he seemed hurried and anxious about it. I asked if something was wrong and he said he just needed to fix his teeth. It broke my heart. My dad jokingly told me once that his earliest memory of dental care was, in his words, "Well, a dentist would come to town once a year and all the poor kids would line up and if you had a bad tooth he would pull it".
My dad loves food. He is 6’4” and has been very skinny his whole life. And he is always hungry. I think this is because he works so hard and burns food off so quickly. He always says that you need to enjoy your food because sometime you never know where your next meal is coming from. I think this means that he is very grateful for everything in his life, but I also wonder if there have been times in his life, maybe in his early years or maybe during his working years, when he went hungry. He always gets so excited to eat. We were going to send him and my mom to Maddox for his birthday and he said he needed to wait until he gets new teeth. Not having working teeth makes it difficult to eat.
Getting new teeth would change his life in many ways. He is such a happy person and he would let all of the laughs out that he is too embarrassed now to show. He would smile not only with his eyes but also with his mouth. That is such a big part of why we all want this for him. His mouth bleeds sometimes. He would have comfort and not pain. His remaining real teeth crumble, break and hurt. But I think the biggest blessing that this amazing gift would be for my dad, would be that he could eat and enjoy eating again, for the first time in a long time. He would finally be pain free.
Thank you so much for this opportunity to tell you about my dad Guy. Thank you for this giveaway! It is an amazing gift and I know that anyone who gets it will be forever grateful.
2nd Runner Up - $2,500 off any dental treatment
Mike was nominated by his daughter and she painted a great picture of how selfless and loving her father is.
My dad, Mike, is extremely deserving of a full-mouth smile makeover for many reasons, which all come down to his selfless giving and love. In the entry information, you said “the more details, the better”, so here it goes!
As a quick summary of his early life, he was born in 1954, and once he graduated high school enlisted in the service where he spent four years in the Navy. Soon after, he married my mom and had two children, my brother in 1986 and me in 1989. He began working for the US Postal Service in 1977, where he was where he was acknowledged many times for his service to others (he once saved an elderly customer’s life!) and he retired in 2014.
Life as a retiree seems like a pretty good gig, something that we work for all of our lives. He had big plans with retirement including spending time visiting some of the great National Parks with my mom (he had never been to many, even in the west) and spending time doting on his grandbabies. My mom retired a short year before him and I had my first child, in 2014 and another in 2017.
For my dad, retirement life has been quite different than he imagined. My mom, his beloved wife of more than 30 years, was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) in early 2015. This changed his retirement plans and he was faced with a new reality, one that he of course handled with dignity, strength, and selfless love.
In the early stages of her diagnosis, he spent time taking her to doctor’s appointments and clinics. He searched high and low for something that would help cure his love. He grieved at the news that my mom’s life was coming to an end. If you know anything about ALS, you know that in most cases, it takes the life of those diagnosed. He confided in me that he wished it were him, and not her. She was just as excited about her retirement and playing with her grandkids as he was. In the latter years of her ALS, he was her sole caregiver. He bathed her, combed her hair, arranged her appointments, fed her (at first by spoon, then by feeding tube), and more. You get the idea. In 2017, she became fully wheelchair-bound and her health declined more rapidly. He remained positive and vowed that, during her last years or even months of life, he wouldn’t allow her to lose her independence, even if that meant sacrificing his. As an example, instead of encouraging her to get a catheter (I know, too much information), he chose to lift her from her wheelchair on and off of the toilet to use the restroom. His explanation, when the doctor’s asked, was that the disease took so much of her life and that this small gesture was one that helped her keep her confidence and dignity. He loaded her in and out of their vehicle to take her to her favorite place, a cabin in the woods, so that she could, for a few last moments, breathe the fresh air, listen to the birds sing, and watch the deer eat the crab apple trees. She took her last breath in June of 2018 at 60 years old, and when admitted to hospice, the nurses and doctors were shocked that she didn’t have bedsores and was in such good shape. They wondered how and that’s when my dad, the retired mailman, told him how he cared for her, with such carefulness day-in and day-out. He learned how to keep her comfortable, how to bathe her correctly, and how to move her cautiously so that her body didn’t suffer. I could go on and on about the love my dad gave to my mom, in those few years of never-easy, gut-wrenching times of her sickness and ultimately death.
Caregiving for my mom is just one example of my dad’s selfless love. He coached recreation sports for my brother and I as children and even teens. He was the first “classroom dad” who volunteered in our elementary schools and served as a wonderful example to not only me but young boys who didn’t have father figures. When I was in high school, I fell in love with horses, and my dad, the mailman who had never thought of being a cowboy, learned to saddle horses and run cattle chutes so that I could ride and rodeo. He’s opened the doors of our humble home multiple times, to teenagers that my brother befriended who needed a stable home life, or cousins who were going through divorce and didn’t have an income to support themselves or their children. We didn’t ever have the space or money, but his heart led the way and we found ourselves rooted with love, which is all that really matters. During caring for my mom, he would call my aunt to come watch my mom for a couple of hours each week while he went down the street, not to take a break, by to help his friend Paul build a retaining wall around his property. More recently, when the care for our boys fell through unexpectedly, he came to my house for weeks to watch my boys (while caring for my mom, who he brought along, too) while we figured out a solution to work full-time with young boys.
He’s always the one that anyone will call when help is needed. He’s made and dropped food off to grieving friends in the midst of his own grief, hauled furniture for acquaintances, and is always the first to offer assistance to people in the grocery store or other places around town. He’s always willing to lend a hand. My dad has never once asked for anything in return and always been proud to call himself a husband, dad, grandpa, and friend, even when it hasn’t been the easiest title. Life isn’t always what you think it should be, and he is not only an example of that, but an example of how treating others with kindness and respect is worth so much more than money, or looks, or recognition of any kind.
You see, his love and care for his family, friends, and even the random stranger, has enabled him to focus on others, while honestly neglecting himself. Once my mom passed, I noticed he needed new shoes—I had thought that he was just “old-school” and wanted to wear them into the ground. However, that wasn’t the case. He hadn’t been shoe shopping in years because it meant leaving my mom at home to go try on shoes and he didn’t think that was right or fair to my mom (Side note: you’re probably wondering why he didn’t just order them on Amazon-- he only recently learned to use the internet, after many lessons from his tech-savvy children and as of now, that only means facebook and food network).
He’s at the point of his life where he is now able to care for himself again and I’m so excited to nominate him. Winning this would change his life, not only in increasing his confidence but also in relieving pain and allowing him the freedom to be his full self, eat what he wants, and feel wonderful. He’s missing multiple teeth and has several that appear to be decaying. Aside from looks and the self-confidence that comes with a new smile, it is hard for him to eat certain foods due to the state of his teeth. His insurance doesn’t cover all of the work that he would need and so a new smile is an investment that he has to consider amongst the many other debts that he and my mom accumulated over the years of her sickness and the new normal of living only off of his retirement income.
As you know, because we’ve all experience grief, he’s sad. But, as with all hands he’s been dealt, has learned to be positive through it all. There’s nothing I want more than for him to have a new smile to laugh with as he continues to love life and serve others. He’s ready for a full smile that matches his full heart. I've attached a few pictures (It's hard to find one with a full smile, but you can sure tell he loves being an Aggie fan, right?!).
Thanks for the opportunity to share his story in hopes of surprising him with a new smile for father’s day!
We want to thank every single person who took the time to write a nomination. It was so difficult narrowing down the choices let alone picking the winners. We are blessed to be surrounded by so many good hearted, caring individuals right here in Utah. Congratulations to all the winners and stay tuned to see Jeff's transformation throughout his smile makeover process.
Jeff, our first place winner, has completed his All-on-4® surgery. He is currenlty in his temporary set up teeth while the implants heal over the next six months. Jeff will still be able to eat and function with his new teeth. Jeff walked in with the smile on the left and walked out with the smile on the right!