RANDOLPH, NJ- The second annual Mission Gratitude event at Pediatric Dental Associates of Randolph honored local men and women in uniform, including Police, Fire, EMS, and the Military, along  with seeing-eye dogs and their trainers. 

"Despite the threat of rain, the turnout at this year's Mission Gratitude was outstanding,” said Dr. Aaron Mannella, founder of Pediatric Dental Associates of Randolph.  “Many families told me what a wonderful event it was, and said they felt it was a great experience for both them and their children.”

New Jersey congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen, representative of NJ’s 11th district which includes all of Morris County, also made an appearance, offering his gratitude to all in uniform.

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During the event, emergency vehicles were on display, including a fire truck, an ambulance, a 7 ton military transport vehicle and police cars.  Children delighted in climbing aboard and exploring the vehicles, getting faces painted and having a balloon sculptures created.  A representative of the Morris County Park Police was making child ID cards.

“We mainly wanted people to feel a sense of appreciation for the hard work that our first responders do and to put faces to the jobs they do,” said Dr. Susan Arnold.  “Having an opportunity for people to see the equipment and ask questions gave everyone a better sense of appreciation for their work.  It was especially important to us that children begin at an early age to understand and value these important people in our community.”

A brief ceremony was held, joined by members of a Randolph Boy Scout troop, who held the American flag while Randolph high school student Gabby Toledo sang the National Anthem.  Dr. Mannella and Mayor Christine Carey addressed the attendees, and expressed thanks to all the honorees for their dedication and service. 

“We had many more first responders attend this year, and for me that was especially gratifying,” said Mannella.  “These men and women work so hard, and to have people come out and thank them and learn more about what they do every day reinforced exactly why we hold this event."

Pediatric Dental Associates of Randolph has been an institution in Randolph for nearly 25 years, getting children started on the right path to a lifetime of good dental health at their office, and in nearly every Morris County preschool and day care facility through their Early Childhood Dental Education Program. Their uncommon ability to treat both typical children and those with special needs makes them a longstanding favorite.