After working more than 33 years as a dentist in Russellville, Arkansas, Dr. Dan Ryder just couldn’t stay away from the practice.
Ryder has been donating time to the women in Hope House for the last four years. Utilizing his experience and time in retirement, he helps survivors with their most immediate dental needs.
“One of my favorite stories to tell about Dr. Ryder is when one of the women in shelter came in for an appointment,” said MaryAnne Metheny, CEO of Hope House. “She was in so much pain. When Dr. Ryder was finished with the surgery, a week later she kept saying ‘I never knew what normal was supposed to feel like.”
And, that is what Ryder gives the survivors at Hope House – normal.
“Knowing that I’m able to provide good dental services to those who may not have these services available to them is very rewarding,” said Ryder. “It’s rewarding because we are able to show the clients that people care unconditionally.”
Ryder, who retired from his practice in Arkansas, moved to Lee’s Summit to be closer to his two children and four grandkids who live in the Kansas City area. Now he’s able to spend more time with them, playing golf, camping and backpacking through California every year. But, there is one more thing Ryder enjoys, and that is helping charitable causes, he says.
Not only does Ryder volunteer at Hope House, but he has also opened a free clinic in Arkansas before he moved. And, he volunteers at the Medical Mission for Christ in Camdenton, Missouri.
What brought him to Hope House was a series of coincidences, he said.
“I was on a mission trip in Jamaica through my church,” said Ryder. “While there, the organizer brought in some pharmacy students. I asked how I could get involved.”
From there, Ryder was directed to speak with Dr. Bridget McCandless of Independence. About three months later, she connected Ryder to Metheny who had been working with another area dentist, Dr. Ross Morrison, to start a dental clinic in the Hope House’s Independence shelter. After receiving a grant to purchase dental equipment, Metheny was in need of a dentist.
“When Dr. Ryder contacted me, we were so thrilled to have his experience and enthusiasm,” said Metheny. “He has done some amazing things for the women here over the last four years. It’s funny because after his visits, you can always hear stories around the halls of shelter about the relief the women have, thanks to his help. We’re truly grateful to have his help.”
Ryder appreciates the facilities and the opportunity to provide immediate relief to the clients at Hope House as he focuses on survivors’ most immediate needs (i.e. fillings, root canals, etc.). But, he has also has a desire to perform dental cleanings. He asked any dental hygienists interested in volunteering contact Brandi Bair, Hope House volunteer coordinator, at 816-257-9342.