Daily Point of Light # 2551 Nov 14, 2003

Dr. Eric Vogel is a dentist with a mission. He wants to help as many people as he can while he is able. He serves with the Food and Care Coalition’s Dental Days along with volunteering at local schools and creating the “Share a Smile” program.

Vogel donates his dental services to the Food and Care clients in return for volunteer work from the patients. This monthly program began when Vogel started donating his services. By day, the Food and Care Coalition’s building serves as a dining hall for the homeless and needy. However, it turns into a dentist office when Vogel is in. The entire room is cleaned and Vogel and his staff set up two dentist chairs and a table for equipment. His philosophy is to help those who are trying to get back on their feet and not just coming to get free treatment. The patients are joyous once they have their teeth attended to, and they feel much better about themselves.

Vogel served a mission to Bolivia in 1980 and developed a love for the people there. He again went and met a family whose daughter had health problems. He worked to bring the little girl to Utah to have doctors attend to her illness while he cared for her teeth.

In September, Dr. Vogel founded the “Share a Smile” program. To fund the organization, he donates all of the proceeds from the teeth whitenings he performs to the organization. He also organizes a charity triathlon. This raised enough funds to buy portable dental equipment to take to the Food and Care Coalition of Utah County.

Vogel took Share a Smile to Bolivia this year. Fourteen people went with him for eight days. They worked 12 to 15 hour days donating their skills to the Bolivian people in need. Several days were spent working on Latin missionaries and caring for people in a remote village. On the last day the volunteer group was in the village, Vogel would not take a lunch so he could continue to share smiles. Their services donated during that eight-day period are valued in excess of $56,000. Vogel is planning to take Share a Smile to Russia in conjunction with the Utah Russian Institute to work in Russian Orthodox Orphanages. This will also promote good will between Utah and Russia.

In addition, Vogel serves with the Boy Scouts. He has volunteered his time to work with the youth for the past 11 years. Annually he takes off one week to attend scout camp with the young men. He also actively volunteers at local schools and serves on the Cherry Hill Parent Council.

Vogel also teaches two pre-dental classes on Thursday afternoons at Brigham Young University along with serving with CRA to evaluate and test the safety of dental products. He has also served in the Utah Dental Association for two years by accepting assignments to better educate dentists in the area.

Though he dedicates a great deal of his time volunteering, Dr. Vogel has a family. He is the father of eight children and spends quality time with his family while also teaching them to give back to their community by his example.