Honoring Their Sacrifices
Sep 01, 2014 04:30AM ● Published by Jason Huddle
Today, there are roughly 1.4 million Americans on active military duty. Add to that, some 850,000 active reservists. Many leave their families and communities for lengthy tours of duty overseas. This can be a struggle financially.
By: Kim Cassell
Now these individuals and their immediate families, in combination with discharged or retired military veterans, are being further recognized with a special “free” day annually. While it falls on September 11 this year, it will be held on the second Thursday of each September going forward.
We’re referring to Freedom Day U.S.A., a movement started by Dr. Robert Martino, DDS, owner of Wilson Martino Dental in West Virginia. Now in its second year, Freedom Day has business participants in 22 U.S. states, North Carolina – and Cabarrus County – among them.
According to freedomdayusa.org, “Freedom Day U.S.A. is the United States of America’s largest thank-you movement ever! Dr. Martino’s vision was to give the members of our military a freedom day, a day where we thanked them for giving us our freedom. The idea is to provide free services, goods, products, etc., as a thank-you for the sacrifice, service and freedom which these men and women have provided to us.”
Each participating state has a director that works in conjunction with city coordinators. The coordinators’ role is to spread the word about Freedom Day while at the same time recruit local vendors to take part, a time-consuming but heart-felt endeavor. Dr. Jonathan Zsambeky, DDS, of Mashburn, Zsambeky & Associates – in Concord and Harrisburg – serves as North Carolina’s state co-director. He also serves as one of five city coordinators for the state.
Dr. Zsambeky’s role, specifically, is to promote Freedom Day and the need for business participation in western North Carolina – his territory, if you will. His passion for this commemoration stems from the fact that his family roots run deep in the U.S. military. His father, who emigrated to the U.S. in 1956, is an Air Force veteran while both of his uncles served in World War II.
Dr. Zsambeky became involved with the event immediately after meeting with a group of national Platinum Circle dentists – of which he and founder Dr. Martino are members – that were trying to come up with a new type of service for their clientele. Freedom Day U.S.A. evolved out of that meeting and some $4 million in goods and services were dispersed last year nationally.
Dr. Zsambeky and his associates offer a free dental exam, panoramic x-ray, teeth cleaning and fillings to active military and their immediate family members, and veterans on Freedom Day. They treated 40-plus patients in their Concord and Harrisburg offices last year and hope that further promoting the day will bring out even more this year.
“We have found that, while the active service members have good benefits, a large portion of the older veterans in our community have major dental needs that they cannot afford,” Amanda Frowein, a front office team member at Mashburn, Zsambeky & Associates, says. “Dental care is available to them at the V.A. hospitals, but, like medicine, access is limited and the waiting times are months for an appointment.”
One of the obstacles that Dr. Zsambeky and his staff have encountered is skepticism about the event being truly free – both participating as a business and receiving the goods and services.
“We have resorted to posting flyers where veterans hang out (restaurants, VFWs, etc.), soliciting the businesses that we frequent and calling on our friends outside of work,” Frowein says.
“We strongly encourage that all of the participants give away whatever they are offering, but for bigger ticket items, some businesses may be offering goods at cost. However, all dental services to be rendered are done for free. Last year we performed extractions, fillings, crowns and root canals. Some of our own suppliers have pitched in to offer free supplies and lab services to alleviate the costs to us for this event.”
Hopefully, as word of this commemorative day becomes better known nationally, it will be realized that it’s been created out of sincere altruism. And, whatever the free gift – large or small – it’s a tangible way to say thanks!
For more information, please visit www.freedomdayusa.org.
2014 Cabarrus County Freedom Day U.S.A. Business Participants
The Bead Lady
Free charm for the first 30 participants!
Kathleen Reeder, owner
1 Union Street, Concord
Free BBQ sandwich and fries
Eric Key, owner
455 Corban Ave. S.E., Concord
Comiskey Oral Surgery
Complimentary dental x-rays and necessary extractions
Dr. Matt Comiskey
5325 Vining Street N.W., Concord
Department of Fire & Life Safety
Complimentary car seat safety check 8:00am-2:00pm
Parking lot of Dr.Mashburn and Zsambeky’s Concord office
Granny Mac’s Bake Shop
Free breakfast (pastries and donuts) and free lunch (pizza, sandwich or salad) with valid active or retired Military ID
Ray Christie, owner
5040 Highway 49 S., Harrisburg
Mashburn, Zsambeky & Associates, P.A.
Free exam, panoramic x-ray, teeth cleaning, fillings and x-rays for active military and immediate family, and veterans
Dr. Jonathan Zsambeky
5000 Highway 49 S., Harrisburg
220 Branchview Dr. S.E., Concord
Phidippides Sports Center
Extra 20% off already discounted shoes (some exclusions apply)
1480-55 Concord Parkway N. (Carolina Mall), Concord
S&I Ice Cream
Free small ice cream cone
10:00am-12 noon and 6:00- 8:00pm with Military ID
Jo-Ann Irish, owner
587 Church St. N., Concord
Speedway Flowers and Gifts
Free rose to active and retired military with Military ID
Kim Russell, owner
6495 Morehead Rd., Harrisburg
Free orthodontic consultations and x-rays
Dr. John Turner
319 Coddle Market Dr. N.W., Concord
As of 8/19/14; Source: freedomdayusa.org