Connect with us


Valley vet drilled in soldier’s dental health | News, Sports, Jobs

Submitted photograph
Col. Donald Begezda, left, is proven in June 2005 as he’s about to return house from his first tour in Iraq. At proper is his alternative, Capt. Justin Tobias.

EDITOR’S NOTE: To recommend a veteran for this collection, which runs weekly by way of Veterans Day, electronic mail Metro Editor Marly Reichert at

POLAND — “I don’t know that there is anything heroic about being a dentist,” Dr. Donald Begezda stated lately.

However, a whole bunch of sufferers on each side of the Atlantic might disagree.

Begezda grew up on Hazelwood Avenue on Youngstown’s West Side, only a few blocks from the Mahoning Avenue follow he took over from Dr. James Davidson, his childhood dentist.

“When I got out of the Army, he said, ‘Come on in. I can use you,’” Begezda stated.

He joined the Army in 1979 after graduating from The Ohio State University College of Dentistry. He began as a scientific dental officer at Fort Jackson, S.C., treating largely primary trainees. He described this as an excellent studying expertise for a younger dentist. They got here from “all over the United States … and some from different parts of the country had never been to a dentist.”

In 1982, he wished to begin his personal follow however was hesitant about leaving the navy, so he joined the Army Reserve. He stated the month-to-month drills largely concerned coaching dental assistants in addition to studying easy methods to function dental gear designed for the battlefield, which requires the flexibility to set it up and take it aside shortly.

In addition, a two-week tour passed off yearly, usually at an energetic base.

“We would show up at the dental clinic and the commander there would be expecting us. They’d have a room for us, and we’d go to work there and do whatever they did at that particular dental clinic–just see patients and do dentistry,” Begezda stated.

In 2004, he was deployed to Iraq, the place he was the dental officer in cost at Forward Operating Base Danger in Tikrit. He downplayed the quantity of peril he confronted, however he stated generally mortar assaults would come shut sufficient to shake the constructing.

One day he and a doctor left the eating corridor sooner than traditional to get again to the clinic. While he was brushing his enamel he heard a number of loud bangs. Enemy fireplace hit precisely the place they’d been strolling simply minutes earlier than. Alhtough no losses occurred, a number of troopers sustained accidents.

In 2009, Begezda had his second stint in Iraq, this time as deputy commander for scientific companies at Joint Base Balad. He described this expertise as being slightly calmer and stated he was a part of a extra settled and complete medical facility.

Then in 2013, Begezda served as commander of the 912th Dental Company Detachments in Afghanistan. He flew between hospitals at Bagram Air Force Base and Kandahar to verify the dental clinics ran easily and successfully. He remembered trying down at a village remoted by mountains and questioning how they received meals and provides. He additionally was liable for triage in case there have been so many casualties that he must “pitch in and help sorting patients,” which luckily didn’t occur whereas he was there.

Begezda described the character of his work abroad as caring for minor emergencies, similar to toothaches and free fillings, so troopers may return to energetic responsibility inside a day or two.

“My mission was dentistry. The other people have their mission, and we have to make sure they can continue. The main reason the dentist is there is to act as the person who can keep them from being removed from their job,” he stated.

In 2015, Begezda retired from the Reserves after a navy profession of 36 years. Begezda described his time in the Army as a constructive expertise that gave him early hands-on coaching and allowed him room to develop as knowledgeable. He loved assembly folks from everywhere in the nation and touring to locations similar to Panama, Honduras, Belgium and Germany.

He stated he would advocate the navy for younger dentists as a good way to begin a profession, as they’ll achieve information with out having to purchase gear and lease an workplace.

“You have a lot of patients who need a lot of care. … I loved every minute of it,” Begezda stated.

Dr. Donald Begezda

AGE: 67


SERVICE BRANCH: Army and Army Reserves

MILITARY HONORS: Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medals, Army Achievement Medal, Expert Field Medical Badge



Today’s breaking information and extra in your inbox

Source link