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ADAF grant a silver lining for dentist hit by Hurricane Irene in 2011

Cranford, N.J.—Storms are poster children for volatility. You can't depend on them to stay the course, and they're liable to unleash floodwaters where they haven't in many moons.

Such was the case in 2011 when Hurricane Irene struck the Caribbean and then the East Coast, leaving Dr. Brian Silverman's general practice afloat in murky uncertainty. His office was spared electrical damage, but standing water throughout shut down his practice for weeks.

"It was rather expensive to do all the repairs, and I had no insurance coverage for flood damage," he said. "There had never been flooding in this location since the building was built in the 1960s."

Dr. Silverman could think of nowhere to turn—until he thought of the ADA Foundation Disaster Assistance Grants Program, which awarded him support funds.

"I went from assuming that I was not going to get any money from the insurance companies or anywhere else to having kind of stumbled upon this ADA grant," he said.

The ADA Foundation Disaster Assistance Grants Program awards grants up to $5,000 to eligible applicants affected by a declared disaster. In response to the Sandy devastation, the Foundation recently created a new Emergency Disaster Assistance Grant—awarding up to $1,000 to eligible applicants for emergency resources such as food, water, clothing, shelter and counseling.

Thanks in part to the Disaster Assistance Grants Program, Dr. Silverman was able to open again for business about four weeks later.

"It was a costly undertaking, and the assistance I got from the Foundation grant was very helpful," he said. "I had to have all the carpeting and flooring replaced, naturally. I had to have the walls opened up and moldy insulation cleaned, removed and replaced. There was no electrical damage, fortunately, to the dental units and dental chairs."

Dr. Silverman fared significantly better when Hurricane Sandy struck the East Coast on Oct. 29.

"We did not have flooding with Sandy, but I'm still without electricity," he said at press time. "My office has been closed again for going on two weeks. I'm fortunate that I really have no damage this time around, but I have no power so I can't open the doors."

The ADA disaster grant is a "wonderful resource," Dr. Silverman said. "The people that I dealt with were all helpful and understanding," he said.

For information on the ADAF Disaster Assistance Grants Program or to donate funds to the ADAF Disaster Assistance Fund, visit www.adafoundation.org.