Business

Oak Harbor orthodontist's sweet tooth benefits Girl Scout troop

Ron Newberry/Whidbey News-Times Girl Scouts deliver cookies at Gardner Orthodontics in Oak Harbor. Front row, from left to right, are Mia Farris, Vivian Farris, Ciandra Allen and Allesandra Courson. In middle row are Kimberly Schmidt, Elizabeth Norman, Beatriz Mosquera, Kate Norman and Katerina Courson. The back row is the Gardner team of Alicia Solano, Jen Griffith, Joel Gardner, Anika Mirante, Brandy Moore and Sheryl Dunn.  - Contributed photo
Ron Newberry/Whidbey News-Times Girl Scouts deliver cookies at Gardner Orthodontics in Oak Harbor. Front row, from left to right, are Mia Farris, Vivian Farris, Ciandra Allen and Allesandra Courson. In middle row are Kimberly Schmidt, Elizabeth Norman, Beatriz Mosquera, Kate Norman and Katerina Courson. The back row is the Gardner team of Alicia Solano, Jen Griffith, Joel Gardner, Anika Mirante, Brandy Moore and Sheryl Dunn.
— image credit: Contributed photo

Sometimes, the smallest things can bring out the biggest smiles.

Such as when Sheryl Dunn places a small sign on her desk every January.

The sign announces that Gardner Orthodontics is looking to buy Girl Scout cookies.

Lots of them.

For an Oak Harbor business that is built around helping create beautiful smiles, this move manages to draw instant ones.

“They’re so excited,” said Dunn, treatment coordinator at Gardner Orthodontics. “They kind of expect it now. They love it. They look forward to it.”

Joel Gardner has been an orthodontist in Oak Harbor for 15 years. For the past five, his office has turned into a cookie closet after he decided to help local Girl Scouts’ cause.

This year, Gardner ordered 500 boxes to help kids with their goals, with many cookies bound for U.S. military personnel as part of “Operation Cookie Drop.”

The remaining shipment came last week to his office on Maylor Street, along with thank-you notes.

“It’s just a sweet thing,” said Dunn, who spearheads the project for Gardner.

Gardner and his office staff of nine work at their Mount Vernon office three days a week and come to Oak Harbor only on Thursdays.

It’s a routine that started 15 years ago for the 43-year-old orthodontist who’s from Walla Walla and attended Gonzaga University before heading off to Oregon Health & Science University. Gardner is from the same 1990 Walla Walla High School class as childhood friend and former NFL star Drew Bledsoe, with whom he remains in touch.

In an attempt to give back to the communities in which he works, Gardner and his staff try to help various causes, including Girl Scouts and the American Cancer Society. When a patient requests a pink band to go with his or her braces, a color that symbolizes breast cancer awareness, Gardner makes a donation to the American Cancer Society.

“This is what I love to do,” Gardner said. “Orthodontics is what I get up for every morning and I’m happy. I have a big smile on my face to come to work. We work with a lot of kids and this is something that we’re able to make a huge change in their self image. To be able to witness that and be a part of that is really special.”

He is sure that cookies in moderation won’t hurt that smile.

“Who doesn’t like Girl Scout cookies?” he said.

 

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