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Wings Of Mercy

Local Dentist Soars High To Help People In Need

“What the world needs now, is love, sweet love…”

Hal David and Burt Bacharach

Hendersonville is an amazing community, filled with loving and caring people. Whenever a need arises, residents are quick to band together to support worthy causes and to help those in need.

Some people find solace in taking care of people in the local community, helping their Hendersonville brothers and sisters through tough times. They freely give of their time and resources to help improve the lives of their neighbors.

However, others hear the cries of the disadvantaged in remote areas far removed from the City by the Lake. They are drawn to assist people who live in countries that do not have the aid and support systems found in the United States.

One such individual is local pediatric dentist, Dr. Bill Taylor. Since 1979, Bill has traveled the world to provide much-needed dental care for thousands of people in need.

“My first mission trip was to the Dominican Republic when I was a freshman at Emory University Dental School,” says Bill. “Since then, I have traveled to many other places, including Honduras, St. Kits, Jamaica, Haiti and Guatemala.”

Bill’s early missions were sponsored by an organization called the Christian Medical Society. However, for the past few decades, his trips have been conducted in conjunction with the Hendersonville Rotary Club, of which Bill has been a member for 38 years. Since Rotary became involved, over $5 million in free healthcare services has been provided to people in need.

“In 1996, club president Hugh Atkinson asked me to take a group of Rotarians to Guatemala to provide medical and dental care for the locals,” says Bill. “About 20 volunteers went with me on that trip, followed up by many more over the following years.”

Early mission trips concentrated on providing primary dental care, such as fillings and extractions. However, recent trips have expanded in scope to provide additional healthcare services

“Although my focus is still on dentistry, we recruit other volunteers who are able to provide additional services, such as medical, emergency and psychiatric care,” says Bill. “Rotary has also partnered with Volunteer State Community College to provide the locals with vision care. The college typically sends several faculty members and students who perform much-needed services such as examinations, acute eye care and eyeglasses fittings.”

Along with medical personnel, lay volunteers are also needed on the mission trips.

“Our mission success depends upon our volunteers,” says Bill. “Lawyers, bankers, insurers, salespeople and stay-at-home parents – we will take anyone and put them to work.”

As part of a program of ongoing support, Hendersonville Rotary provides financial assistance that helps pay for medical and dental supplies on each mission trip, which usually lasts around 10 days. However, despite the club funding, volunteers are responsible for paying for their own travel, room and board expenses, which average around $1,700 per person.

“In all my years, I have never had any volunteers who regretted the time and expense that they put in on the trips,” says Bill. “Every volunteer gets to experience the joy and satisfaction from knowing that they are helping others who cannot help themselves.”

Along with his dental expertise, Bill is also an experienced pilot, who flies some supplies and volunteers to the remote locations in his twin-engine Cessna Conquest.

“I have been a pilot for 42 years, and I love being able to transport materials and supplies to our mission sites,” says Bill. “Flying my own aircraft gives me additional flexibility to adapt to changing site conditions.”

This year’s mission trip will take place in May, and it will mark a return to the familiar turf of Guatemala, in the small southwestern city of Tecpán.

“Our team will be working with a group called Radical Missions,” says Bill. “We will be seeing over 1,000 patients during our visit.”

Folks who are intrigued by the notion of international missions should reach out to Bill or other local Rotarians for more details on how they can enrich their lives by serving others.

“Our trips provide an opportunity for us to be true ambassadors for America,” says Bill. “Each year, we send each of our patients a powerful message – we care about you.”

Dr. Bill Taylor, DDS, MS

Invisible Smiles of Tennessee

131 Indian Lake Road, Suite 200,

Hendersonville, TN 37075

615.265.8543

InvisibleSmilesOfTennessee.com

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