Back to Cover Page

Survivor Stories

For the Benco Dental family, Hurricane Harvey was personal.

YOU CAN TELL a lot about people by how they react when they lose everything. What they value and what they fear. Who they were, who they are and who they will become.

When Hurricane Harvey battered Houston and environs in August, several Benco Dental associates were forced to escape the rising waters. Director of Practice Coaching Kay Huff, who lives in the east Texas town of Beaumont, was out of town
on a consulting assignment when the evacuation order came. She returned a few weeks later to find her home destroyed.

“I lost pretty much everything I own,” Huff says. “The most devastating losses were my personal belongings: family photos, mementos, furniture and all the things one collects that represent a lifetime of memories. Times like these make you realize what is truly important. People endure, and things are ephemeral.”

Lone Star Territory Representative Keith Wilson’s wife, Margie, is a nurse in the Houston area. When the floods hit, she had begun an evening rotation. Her stint ended up lasting four days, because other nurses couldn’t reach the hospital to relieve her.
In the end, although the Wilsons had to evacuate, they didn’t lose their house.

Service Technician Mike Luna wasn’t as lucky: His home took on four feet of water and was a total loss. Throughout, though, Luna maintained a positive outlook. After gutting his home’s downstairs, he headed out to help his neighbors. He was good — very good — at the work; within weeks, he left Benco to take a full-time job with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, working on a cleanup that will last years.

At Benco, we certainly understand the toll a natural disaster can take. In June 1972, Hurricane Agnes flooded our family’s business and home in northeastern Pennsylvania, destroying both. One of us (Chuck, age 6 at the time) was infected by chicken pox during the evacuation, while the other (Rick, who was 11/2) found himself suddenly weaned from his bottles when our mother, Sally, forgot to pack them in the rush to leave.

Assisting Benco associates and customers through natural disasters is integral to our mission. Every associate affected by Hurricane Harvey received time off and funds to help rebuild. Our service team quickly visited dental practices that had been hit — those of customers and non-customers alike — to help assess the damage and formulate a rebuilding plan.

“We all persevered,” says Lone Star Regional Manager Mike McDonnell. “The team truly put their customers first throughout this event. We are all stronger given what we went through, and the company is in a great position to quickly respond to future events, God forbid.”

We’d like to dedicate this issue of Incisal Edge to all dentists and Benco associates whose lives and businesses have been upended by a natural disaster. You can rebuild, bigger and better than before, and Benco is here to help.


P.S.: In this issue, you’ll see something we’re pretty sure you won’t find in any similar magazine: an office designed and equipped by one of Benco’s competitors. Dr. Sharad Pandhi’s astonishing Arizona practice, winner of the Eco-Friendly category in our annual Design Competition, was designed by equipment specialist Jim Levengood when he was with Patterson Dental.

We invite submissions for the Design Competition each year from dentists around the country, and our independent judges make their decisions based solely on the merits of the space. Sometimes winners are Benco customers assisted by Benco designers; sometimes they aren’t. With integrity at the center of everything we do, we like it that way.