As I reflect on our first 25 years of Comfort Dental and nearly half a century of my personal history in this profession, I would like to share some recent unsolicited commentaries from Comfort Dental partners and their families. I think they help demonstrate what a true family Comfort Dental has become.
Evan Kneale retired from dentistry recently after spending the last 15 years as a Comfort Dental practitioner/partner.
Dear Rick & Cindy,
Last Friday, April 1st, 2016 (April Fool’s Day!) marked my last day as a dentist. It simply does not feel appropriate to walk away without acknowledging the couple who have handed me an incredible career. I still count my blessings and I am thankful every day that I discovered Comfort Dental some 67 years ago. I have always been physically a little wimpy (my back) and I know I have not been a strong producer. I have tried to make up for my clinical short-comings in other ways. I’m sure my partners would agree that I was a valuable and reliable partner with my contributions to the management of our offices. We have always had a strong “Core of The Nest Egg!” Thank you so much for your support and encouragement along the way, and for not sending me back to the Minor Leagues.
I feel I have represented Comfort Dental very well as a nice, respectful dentist—I followed your “Cookbook” religiously (you should bring that back again—a nice synopsis of Lean & Mean principals) My patients love me, and like you, I finished my career with no board complaints and no lawsuits (Although, I came close!) I attribute that success directly to your Cookbook–in particular the value of Care Calls. From day one I have been your most faithful Care Caller—and the benefit of your genius is that I stayed out of trouble for an entire career. This was very important to me as my level of Confrontational Tolerance is a “1” (compared to your “11”). I have always been somewhat weak in that regard. You taught me that patients don’t complain if you show you care and I learned that skill from you. I’ve had an extraordinary career for a simple man—success beyond my wildest dreams. I have no idea where we would be now had I not found Comfort Dental—a true, true blessing.
Theresa and I wish you and your family the best—with continuing success and a happy and healthy future.
With love and appreciation,
-Evan Kneale and Teresa Kneale.
This says a lot and brings me to tears every time I read it. No I couldn’t and wouldn’t ever send Evan back to the minor leagues. We will miss him.
Jack Spiegel is Dr. Jeff and Ilana’s son and again, see how our family’s lives affected him in such a positive way. Jeff is a 25+year Comfort loyalist and he and Ilana are also the best of the best.
Jack Spiegel’s Dvar Torah for his Bar Mitzvah: What affects our perceptions of the world? What changes our perceptions? The way we see the world depends on who we are, where we are, where we have been, and where we think we are going. Personal experiences, emotions, and expectations impact how we process what we see and hear, and how we make sense of it. Sometimes, however, there are other factors that can impact perceptions, as well. For example, Colorado legalized marijuana a few years ago. When someone smokes marijuana they get a really high feeling. They feel really good, really happy. But, once that high feeling wears off they have to smoke more and more to get that same high feeling. Marijuana not only changes someone’s perception of the world, but if they want to keep seeing the world in that way, they have to smoke more and more.
According to Good to Know Colorado, a division of the Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), young people need to know that marijuana can impact learning and memory, coordination, judgment, potential and cause addiction.
My mitzvah project is to help educate other young adults about how marijuana not only changes your perception of the world, but can have many negative effects. Our close family friends, Rick and Cindy Kushner, sadly lost their son, Joe, due to a prescription drug overdose. Rick and Cindy are the reason my parents moved to Colorado, and have been the most generous, caring people I have ever known. I asked Rick and Cindy what was important to them so I can help heal the world for people who have made the world special for me.
Obviously, Jack is a fine young man.
This is from Dr. Adam Clarke, a 5-year partner at Comfort Dental Green Mountain, Colorado. He and his family sat in the Comfort Dental Clubhouse seats at a couple of Rockies games.
The rest of the story…
Three years ago I took my daughter to a Rockies game at the clubhouse and she was given a ball by the manager. They only handed out two balls that game. There was a little boy sitting several rows behind us all decked out in Rockies gear. He had his mitt with him and all he wanted that game was a ball. The game ended and he was very sad that he missed his opportunity to get a ball. I could tell that he likely was not going to have another opportunity to sit that close again. After quite a lot of coaxing, Aubrianna reluctantly gave her ball to this boy. He lit up like the 4th of July! I knew that we would have more opportunities to attend these games and enjoy these kinds of experiences but I didn’t think this other boy would get such experiences. It was a very hard thing for her to do only being eight years old at the time and something that she has reminded me of off and on over the past three years. This was the first time tonight that I had been able to take her again to the clubhouse in three years. So, tonight, when she was given this ball and then after the game was able to get it autographed, well that just made it so much sweeter. Again, thank you so much for giving us partners and our families such incredible opportunities!
Like I said, Comfort Dental partners and their families are the best of the best.
Got it Rick, just one more thing: How did all of this start? I’ve been asked the question a thousand times and I never thought it was very interesting but on reflection, I think there’s a valuable message here.
Around 37 years ago, Dr. Jake Eisensen, my childhood dentist-then president of the Colorado Dental Association, called me and asked me to do a table clinic for the convention. We lost Jake recently in his 90’s but he was a long time icon of Colorado dentistry. (To this day, I have no idea how my parents afforded getting us to the dentist in the 50’s and maybe Dr. E treated us for free—he had to—my family had no money.)
The point is, he was proud of my becoming a dentist and heard that I was having success as a young dentist. I was reluctant to do the table clinic and told him I was just a bread-and butter guy whose patients seemed to like. I was not and never became a master clinician. I said I was better at the business side. He asked me to do my clinic on the business side. (The REAL story is Dr. Eisensen said you’re DOING table clinic but I like the way I tell it better.) I did a large amateurish poster of my collection policy complete with charge card, $20 bills, insurance claims, arrows, etc. I quickly learned that, while the rows of clinical table clinics were like a ghost town (just like they are today and always have been except for the tech gadgets but that’s another blog), I had dozens of dentists blocking the aisles listening to me for 3 days. The rest, as they say, is history . . . . .