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Father and son dentists struggle to rebuild practice after Oklahoma tornado


Oklahoma dentists: Dr. Trey Homsey (left) poses with his father, Dr. Richard Homsey. "Without electricity, we are at a standstill," said the elder Dr. Homsey.
Moore, Okla.—With no power, phone lines or computers, Dr. Richard Homsey and his son, Dr. Trey Homsey, are struggling to resurrect their practice after the destruction wrought by the May 19 tornado here.

"Thank God we are safe and well," the elder Dr. Homsey told the ADA News in a May 28 email. "Our office building has some damage, structurally, and our cars were torn apart."
 
Dr. Homsey has practiced in Moore since 1973.  His son later joined him and together they are Homsey & Family Cosmetic Dentistry.  They plan to rebuild their practice and work to help their patients and the community rebound, he said.

"It will take some time and waiting is not either of our best sides," he said. 

More than a week after the tornado, they were still without power. "Once we get electricity, we can start the recovery process," Dr. Richard Homsey said. "It is so amazing how much this world we live in is powered by computers, and without the electricity, we are at a standstill.

"We are praying hard for electricity.  We can work around the construction once it begins.  Until then, adjusting is not easy and the days are long and frustrating, but we are here to tell our story."

Meanwhile, other members of the local dental community have extended their accommodations to the Homseys.
 
"So many dentists in the area have opened their offices to us to use," Dr. Homsey said. "But it is not ours and that makes it tough.  Right now, we are seeing emergency patients only and those that need immediate help."

Dealing with loss recovery is one thing to deal with; the emotional toll is another. Dr. Homsey, who is a general dentist as is his son, sympathizes with fellow Oklahomans who may face a tougher road to recovery.

"We can fix our office building and get a car," he said. "And as easy as that sounds, when you see the destruction for so many, that seems very selfish.
 
"We know that many of our patients lost their homes and several have children that attended the schools that were so severely damaged, with loss of life."

Dr. Timothy Fagan, president of the Oklahoma Dental Association, expressed empathy for Dr. Homsey and other dentists recovering from the disaster.

"The devastation to several Oklahoma communities brought about by the storms on May 19th and 20th is unbelievably vast and we will be rebuilding for many months to come," Dr. Fagan said.  "The ODA is humbled and incredibly grateful to the many, many ADA dentist members from all over the country, and to the other Constituent societies, that have contributed to the Oklahoma Relief and Disaster Grant Program.  Their overwhelming generosity will make it possible for us to bring some relief to Dr. Homsey and the other Oklahoma dentists who were affected."