Dr. Tran Miller, of Bend Family Dentistry, just returned from the Soto Cano airbase in Honduras, where she spent three months on a humanitarian tour with the United States Army. Her primary duty was to provide dental care for our service members, but while she was there she performed dental treatment at several orphanages along with many remote villages that are only accessible by boat or plane.
Honduras was once a part of the “Banana Republic”, where United Fruit Company (Chiquita Banana) and agriculture made up approximately 22% of their economy. In 1998, Hurricane Mitch came through and destroyed 70% of their crops and many of the infrastructures and roads. Even though the hurricane happened over 20 years ago, it has put the country back at least 50 years and they have struggled to recuperate from the damage that it caused. Many of the homes still do not have running water or electricity.
Dr. Miller felt very fortunate to be able to help the natives that only receive medical and dental care when volunteer teams are able to organize a mission to their village. This only happens once a year. She was also extremely impressed with our service members who spent their weekends and evenings volunteering at 8 different orphanages throughout the city.
One of her most memorable experiences was the trip they took to a girl’s orphanage. They brought them goodies and were able to take them to the children’s museum. With just the donations from Central Oregon, they have enough supplies to place over 400 sealants, as well as providing children with oral hygiene instructions, tooth brushes, tooth paste and dental floss.
On another mission they hiked into a remote village with food and medical supplies. Most of the villagers hiked in flip flops over 10 miles to receive food and care.
All of us at Bend Family Dentistry want to give Dr. Miller a huge thank you for her service for our country.