As part of Dr. Richard Wolfert’s practice, he recognizes local residents doing good deeds in the committee—the Smiling Neighbor Award. For this quarter’s Smiling Neighbor, The Toothboss, the name of Wolfert’s practice, was on the receiving end of this honor as his staff recognized his 30 years of military service in the U.S. Navy and Army National Guard. Dr. Wolfert retired from the National Guard at the end of February.
“I’m not quite sure this award is supposed to work this way,” said Wolfert. “But I do appreciate the gesture. And I suppose 30 years in the military does meet our criteria for the Smiling Neighbor.
Dr. Wolfert joined the U.S. Navy while enrolled at Tufts School of Dental Medicine in 1978. It was during his tenure in the Navy that he earned the nickname that would become the name of his practice.
“I served on the U.S. Midway and the commander on the carrier called his department heads ‘boss’. For example, the guy who ran the flight deck was the ‘air boss’. As the dentist, I was the tooth boss,” said Wolfert. “By the time I left the Navy, joined the Guard and started my private practice, I’d grown used to the name and kept it for my business.”
Wolfert’s military career included a tour of duty in Iraq in 2004. Stationed a few miles from the front at a makeshift hospital, he compared the experience to being like the television show M*A*S*H, only in real life.
“There was that kind of camaraderie in our outfit, but I don’t think any of us ever forgot why we were there and how close we were to some really nasty stuff,” said Wolfert.
After his tour of Iraq, Wolfert chose to remain in the National Guard, where he has served as a mentor to young dentists and supervised care for the 7,000 soldiers in the Army National Guard Reserve in Massachusetts. At the end of February, Dr. Wolfert retired with the rank of Colonel.
“Many people have asked me over the years why did I join and why did I stay. The best explanation I have is that I come from a military family. My two older brothers served in Vietnam. I guess I felt it was my duty to serve. Once I got in, I found it agreed with me. It’s really as simple as that,” said Wolfert.
For being selected as the Smiling Neighbor, Dr. Wolfert opted to give his $50 gift card to Stockholders to a fellow veteran, battle buddy and Toothboss patient, Scott Sallaway. Scott served three tours of Iraq, including one with Wolfert in 2004.
“It may sound cliché, but the men and women who did not make it back from their tours of duty are the real heroes,” said Wolfert. “Me, I’m proud to have served in the company of such brave men and women.”
The Smiling Neighbor award is given out on a quarterly basis to citizens of Weymouth going above and beyond the call of duty for their fellow citizens. People can nominate a Smiling Neighbor by sending an e-mail of 200 words or less to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please remember to include your name and telephone number as well as the name and telephone number or e-mail of the person they are nominating. Nominations can also be sent to The Toothboss, 1121 Main Street, South Weymouth, MA 02190.
For more information on The Toothboss, visit Dr. Wolfert’s website at www.toothboss.com or call 781-335-0604 to schedule a consultation.