Date
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Elgin

A Story of Dedication: Betty, an Unsung Hero

Betty Rush is a parent educator with the Family Resource Youth Center at Hazel Green Elementary and Colony Elementary schools in Laurel County, Kentucky. Betty is a living example of the essence of Elgin Foundation at work.

Hazel Green Elementary’s dental screenings were scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. one morning. Betty voluntarily showed up at 9 a.m., ready and eager to get the day started.

Throughout the day, Betty worked with the dental team to ensure each student who needed treatment had the proper permission slips and information necessary to proceed with the screening. Numerous times, without hesitation, she picked up the phone to reach out to parents, grandparents, and guardians to obtain permission to treat students who were in great need of dental care. Her dedication to the students was clear, enthusiastic, and unstoppable.

Her drive was particularly evident around mid-afternoon when she encountered a small child with a visibly swollen cheek and an unsigned permission slip in his hands. The child was in obvious pain and Betty, with confirmation from the dentist, determined that the child was suffering from an abscessed tooth.

Betty began her routine of calling first the parents, then the grandparents, and any other authorized contact in the child’s school record. No working home or emergency number existed.

Obviously not one to be deterred by setbacks, Betty immediately began gathering any information she could to locate the child’s parents. She searched online for a home address, tried to find employment records to determine where the child’s parents worked, and tried everything she could think of to reach possible guardians. It took most of that day and the next, but Betty’s resilience paid off. She was able to find the boy’s mother, explain the situation, and obtain permission to treat his abscess, which turned out to have existed for quite some time and had already caused significant tooth damage.

One in seven elementary school children aged six to twelve suffers from a toothache, which can affect a child’s concentration, school attendance, and academic achievement. Dental problems can lead to lifelong health challenges and difficulties finding and holding a job.

Elgin Foundation exists because people like Betty – individuals ready to go the extra mile – do whatever it takes to make a difference in children’s lives.

Thank you, Betty, for the difference you’re making in the lives of the children of Laurel County, Kentucky.

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