Randolph, New Jersey – Saturday, June 18, 2016 Adults and kids of all ages came to show appreciation to many first responders at the first annual Mission Gratitude hosted by Pediatric Dental Associates of Randolph.  It was the feel good event of the season as members of local and state police, fire and rescue squads came together with representatives of the Seeing Eye and Canine Companions for Independence to be honored for their service. 

“We wanted to create an event where we could give back to the community that has been so good to us” Dr. Aaron Mannella, the founding dentist of Pediatric Dental Associates of Randolph explained.  “We often take for granted the work that our first responders do and we wanted to honor their service and of course the service of so many dogs that work to make our lives better as well”.

During the event a variety of emergency vehicles including a fire truck, ambulance, a 7 ton military transport vehicle and a variety of police cars were on display.  Many children and adults alike, delighted in climbing aboard and exploring these emergency vehicles, getting faces painted and having a balloon sculpture created for them as they watched.   A representative of the Morris County Park Police was making child ID cards and under a tent there was a station to create hand-made thank you cards which are being mailed by Pediatric Dental Associates of Randolph to first responders and to those serving in the military. 

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“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.”

Mid way through the event a brief ceremony was held which included a flag raising from a local Boy Scout troop, the singing of the national anthem and greetings from Dr. Mannella, the founding dentist of the pediatric dental practice, Mayor Roman Hirniak and Assemblyman Anthony Bucco.  All first responders and canine handlers in attendance were then handed commemorative Mission Gratitude Pins for their service.  It was truly an event which put smiles on everyone’s face, from the start of the event right to the very end.

“The idea was Dr. Arnolds.  She wanted to create an event that would involve the entire community where we could all come together and show our appreciation for those who work to serve and protect, often as volunteers in our communities,” said Margo Steinmark, PR Director and chief organizer of the event.

Steinmark continued, “We felt that we did a very important community service, and as a business in town, we think it is very important to give back.  It made us feel good to give this gift to the community and to be able to honor those first responders and dog handlers that attended.”

Dr. Arnold concluded by stating, “We'd like to thank everyone for coming out and sharing in making Mission Gratitude such a success.  We think everyone who was there today left feeling just plain old ‘GOOD’ and that just doesn't happen often enough in life.”

Steinmark added, "One thing that stuck with me was hearing from the Seeing Eye puppy raisers how much they enjoyed meeting Dr. Arnold and Dr. Mannella's daughter Staci and her Seeing Eye dog Smidge, as it gave them a sense of appreciation for the work that they do." 

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.