Dr. Kevin Norige, Platinum Member
I’ve been a member of the Gems Family for the past several years, but I didn’t have a chance to really get to know Dr. Tom Orent until the Fall Members’ Retreat. It was there that I was able to interact with Dr. Orent on a personal level, and I was amazed at how considerate and personable he is. I’ve always been impressed with the accessibility and dedication Dr. Orent and his team have shown to my team. I have learned a tremendous amount from my work with Gems, and every new Gem we deploy makes me excited for the next. But it was our interaction this fall that really put into perspective how meaningful and powerful this work can be. It makes a real difference when you create a personal connection with someone — my practice’s latest venture with the support of the Gems Family is proof. In October 2019, Dr. Orent suggested we celebrate veterans throughout the entire month of November rather than just honoring these brave men and women on Veterans Day. As a man in a military family, this struck me. My father and father-in- law served in World War II in the Navy and the Merchant Marines, respectively. I’m also the proud brother of an Air Force veteran, and these men inspire me as I serve my community in many different
ways, including through my church and as a longtime Boy Scout leader.
and tied it up with a gorgeous purple bow. On the tag, we had printed, “Thanks for Your Service. –Team South Windsor Smiles.” Andy had posters made up for the office to alert patients and visitors of this special promotion. In each step of the process, we grew more excited about the project. With everything set up, all we had to do was wait in eager anticipation for November to roll around. But on Halloween, I couldn’t wait any longer. He was the last patient of the day. In fact, this was his first visit to our practice. But when I learned this man was a pilot during the Korean conflict, I knew we couldn’t pass up an opportunity to thank him for all he did for this country even though it was “technically” still October. I said, “You know, we’re starting this tribute to our veterans tomorrow, but I’m going to give this to you today.” With that, I handed
In the past, my practice, South Windsor Smiles, donated toothbrushes and toiletries to various veteran programs, but honoring the brave heroes who have defended our country for generations throughout the month was the least we could do. I passed the idea along to my son, Andy, who manages the marketing, creative, and administrative work for South Windsor Smiles. What happened next is all because of Andy’s creative thinking. Andy connected with a local chocolatier to create dozens of custom-made boxes of chocolate. We wrapped each box in gold
"I handed him the golden box … I may as well have handed him a gold brick. The man was so appreciative of our support and gesture, and I was proud to recognize him in such a simple, unassuming way."
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