RANDOLPH, NJ- When someone says they are "On a mission”, the general interpretation is that they have a strong commitment and sense of duty to do or achieve something. When someone speaks of expressing gratitude, the general interpretation is that they have a deep feeling of thanks and appreciation for the actions of others.
Put the two together, and you have the driving force behind the annual "Mission Gratitude" event hosted by Pediatric Dental Associates of Randolph, in which the dental office invites the public to come out to honor local men and women in uniform.
“For many years, we felt there was an oversight in a lack of appreciation for our first responders and our men and women in uniform,” said Dr. Aaron Mannella. “By creating Mission Gratitude, our hope was to bring the community together with the first responders and give everyone an opportunity to say thank you for their service. We wanted to do this in a fun and happy environment and I think we have succeeded.“
2018 marked the third year the dental office has hosted the event in the parking lot of their building at the corner of Rt. 10 West and Millbrook Ave.
In addition to two Randolph fire trucks and some volunteer firefighters, Randolph EMS and police were also in attendance. Joining them was a NJ State Police Trooper, and volunteers from The Seeing Eye, who help with training seeing-eye dogs.
“We are honored that the mayor of Randolph, Mark Forstenhausler, attended our event this year,” said Mannella. “Mr. Forstenhausler is not only our mayor, but he continues to serve on Randolph's volunteer fire department. We are proud of his over 20 years commitment to service. He and the other first responders who help protect our community, helped to fuel our ambitions to start Mission Gratitude.
After some comments and words of thanks from Dr. Mannella, a Randolph Boy Scout Troop led a short flag raising ceremony, and Gabby Toledo sang the National Anthem.
“The State of NJ has issued us a citation for the event so I guess we have done something right,” said Mannella, when asked about the future of the event. “We are already making plans to make next years’ event even better.”
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.