Creating a Sense of Community Throughout The Appalachian Highlands

Dr. Frederick Guthrie, Jr.

Dr. Frederick Guthrie, Jr.

Owner, Boones Creek Dentistry

Rick Guthrie, Jr. never really imagined that he’d be anything other than a dentist. “My father is a dentist and, growing up, I was always around my dad’s office and the dentistry field and found it quite interesting and saw the opportunity to help people so I decided to follow in his footsteps.” After going to the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Guthrie went onto dental school at the University of Tennessee College of Dentistry in Memphis. Eventually returning home to start practicing with his father. Rick’s son, Van Guthrie III, has followed in both his father and grandfather’s footsteps and now all three men practice together. Something else that Guthrie received from his dad was the desire to help others and the understanding of its importance. “I was raised by a giving family and a supportive church community and I am appreciative of the life that I have. I feel as though, because of this, I should share my experiences and talents with others. I have a compassion for others less fortunate and hope to in some small way make a difference in their lives. I want to make a difference in my home, community, and world.” Helping in some small way is not what Rick Guthrie does; he helps in some large ways.

“My work with Healing Hands means I have the ability to make a difference in someone else’s life. We work to help the underserved by giving them a smile to make them feel better about themselves. Giving everyone access to good dental care is a core desire of the organization and of mine personally. I’ve always felt it was my duty or responsibility to help others in need. I get a lot of satisfaction in being able to help somebody and I get more joy from giving than receiving.” Giving rather than receiving is a trait that Guthrie sees in many others who live and work in the Tri-Cities region and is, he says, “what makes this region such a wonderful place to live.” Besides working in his practice and volunteering with Healing Hands, Rick is involved in other activities that help to mentor the younger generation, a need he sees as integral to improving life for everyone: young and old. “I wish we had more jobs so our younger population/people could be able to stay here, live and raise families as we have and to enjoy this Tri-Cities area. I enjoy teaching young people about responsibility and how to work hard to improve the lives of others. With the Boy Scouts it is helping with a youth program that teaches boys and young men life-long skills so that may grow into good and successful men. In my role with the Tennessee Dental Association it is being able to make a difference in my profession as it relates to serving my fellow dentists and at Healing Hands Clinic I enjoy mentoring young dental students by building lasting relationships with them. It is important to me so one day they may in turn do the same for a young and up and coming student under their charge.”

When asked about the Tri-Cities area in general, Rick Guthrie has nothing but positive things to say and good words to spread around. “We live in a beautiful area that wonderful people and a lot potential for growth. I am truly blessed to live in this area and glad to call it home. There are a lot of less fortunate people in this area/the world that need our help. I feel like setting an example in serving others may motivate people to be more giving.” Guthrie believes in looking for needs in the community and following those in order to give back: lessons he undoubtedly learned from his father. He follows his own advice of, “find your niche for serving.” Guthrie is certainly a man who works hard to practice what he preaches. “What drives me to work so hard is my desire to take care of people’s needs from my skill as a dentist. My ability to solve someone’s problem gives me fulfillment and I am always honored to know that they can have their smile and teeth for a lifetime.” Being on the UT Dental Alumni board is also an honor for Rick Guthrie and yet one more way he uses his desire to help others help their communities. “We have the rotating dental students to our home for dinner each rotation and having these students to our home for a meal is a way to get to know them and to let them know I genuinely care. I work hard to address their concerns, but I also always encourage them to support and give to their communities.” It is clear that Guthrie has a vision for life and community outreach; one that includes continual support of anyone, giver or recipient, who may need uplifting.

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