PATASKALA -- A longtime local dentist expects to see devastation when he ventures to Haiti soon to treat residents who still are recovering from the 2010 earthquake.
Dean R. Gladura, who has operated a general dentistry practice in Pataskala since 1995, is traveling to Haiti in March.
Gladura, 48, will be traveling with a team of physicians, including surgeons and general family practitioners, from Xenos Christian Fellowship.
"They're going to be doing surgery on patients, and I'll basically be pulling teeth and seeing what else I can do," he said.
The team plans on working out of a hospital in Port-au-Prince. The hospital was not destroyed by the magnitude 7.0 earthquake that rocked the region Jan. 12, 2010.
The quake killed tens of thousands and left countless others with a variety of medical woes, including broken teeth in need of extraction.
Gladura performed a similar service in 1987, when, before entering dental school, he traveled to Haiti with a dentist. The pair worked in the mountains around Port-au-Prince, and even then, Gladura said he was shocked by the level of poverty.
At one stop, he met a woman who lived in a two-room cinderblock home with dirt floors with her five children.
"When we walked away, someone told us she had had 10 kids," said Gladura, adding he could not imagine losing one child, much less five. "That's just how life is there."
Gladura will be joined on the March trip to Haiti by his 14-year-old son, Joshua. He expects the pair to stay busy.
"Since the earthquake, (I've heard) it's even worse," Gladura said.
That is one of the reasons he asked his teenage son to join him on the trip.
Living in the United States, Gladura said, it is easy to take things, like material possessions, for granted.
"Stuff is nice, but people are more important," said Gladura, quickly adding that God has blessed his family with so much they feel obligated to help those in need.
Chad Klimack can be reached at (740) 927-3738 or firstname.lastname@example.org.