A SMILE-filled thank you!

Pat Healey says thank you to the community for their support at Pat's SMILE Day held May 26. (Healey photo)

Who would have thought a simple conversation about me needing dental surgery would have blossomed into what Pat’s Smile Day turned out to be.

In December 2017, I mentioned to Barry Dalrymple, who I have had the chance to get to know quite well through covering him in his time as HRM councillor the past eight years, that I may need dental surgery. I have teeth like my dad did, so it was just time to do something more than just tossing money at them.

A couple weeks after talking to Barry, he and Stephanie Dube, a part of my “Fall River family” informed me what they were going to do a fundraiser with music, food (pulled pork sandwiches) and an auction.

I should be getting the permanent denture in July/August. I have had two of the four implants in since late March. The other two go in in late June.

Pat’s SMILE Day was amazing—to see so many of you come out and show your support was humbling. I just see what I do as what a community journalist should do. But you all proved to me that I mean much more than just being a community journalist, that I am liked and adored by so many. I will cherish that forever and ever.

I keep saying to myself how lucky I am to be where I am and to be the voice of the community through the job I love.

I never imagined I would have such an impact on this community when I took over the job as The Laker reporter some 8.5 to nine years ago.

In the lead up to the big day, I was eager to just get it here and over because I guess I was nervous as to what to expect. I kept being told not to worry and that Smile Day would be a great success. And that held true.

Even on Saturday afternoon, the organizers were still plotting in the final 10-15 auction items that came in earlier that day. In the end, there were 140 items to bid on. 140. Let that sink in. It still really hasn’t for me.

With such a large venture, it’s obvious calculating the final tally of what was brought it would take some time. Just seeing what the final tally with all donations—cheques that were presented and cash donations—was has blown me away. WOW!

That I mean that much to the communities I cover, the communities I care about. It’s overwhelming, humbling. It left me teary eyed and having more than a few cries. Who’s cutting the onions in here.

To the volunteer organizers, those who donated auction items, those who came out and attended, bidding, and donating money I thank you all! I will never forget this.

This smile is your smile 🙂

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Pat has grown up in East Hants, having called Milford, and now Enfield home. He graduated from the journalism program at Holland College in 2001, and has spent time at newspapers in NL and Alberton and Summerside, PEI before becoming a reporter/photographer at The Weekly Press/The Laker in October 2008. He has a rescue kitty named Asha that is much loved—and spoiled. Pat is also our "social engagement guru." Check him out on twitter!