By Jennifer Meshanko for The Island Connection
Dr. Marie Williams has extensive volunteer experience. Throughout her life, she has tutored in children’s and adult literacy programs, mentored at-risk pre-teen girls and completed 26 overseas mission trips. Dr. Williams wanted to open her own free dental clinic until she found the dental clinic at Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach. Dr. Williams was born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica, where she completed high school before moving to New York City and graduating from Hunter College. Dr. Williams was awarded a scholarship to The State University of New York’s School of Dental Medicine at Buffalo. After graduation, she served in the United States Air Force for 27 years, retiring as a Colonel in 2006.
During one of her temporary duty assignments in the Air Force, Dr. Williams visited Charleston and determined that the city would be a good fit for her as a military retiree. In 2007, she moved to Charleston and started working as an instructor in the Dental Hygiene program at Trident Technical College (TTC). She was introduced to Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach’s dental clinic through the partnership with TTC. She was impressed with the dental clinic’s excellent care for people in need, state-of-the-art building and equipment as well as the mission-driven staff. Dr. Williams was compelled to start volunteering with the dental clinic and would later join the OLMCO advisory committee and the dental advisory council.
“Dental Director, Dr. John Howard, works tirelessly for the staff, patients and volunteers,” says Dr. Williams.
“He inspires the students and is the force behind the wonderful working environment at the dental clinic.”
Dr. Williams sees that the Wellness Center staff and volunteers make a difference in people’s lives by the thank you cards that come in and how appreciative the patients are during their visit. She believes “patients who are afraid of dental treatment who return voluntarily are a hopeful sign of a positive impact,” and encourages those who are able to volunteer. “Your life will be a lot richer by helping someone in your community.”