Members Making a Difference

Chester is Blessed With A New Dental Clinic


 It was by chance that Dr. Kenneth Fetter met Foster Friess during a golf outing at the Stonewall course in Elverson. Friess asked Dr. Fetter and his partner, Dr. Dallas Pulliam, if they would like to be involved in a dental clinic project in Chester. Dr. Fetter instantly said yes. He was ready to get involved with this local opportunity and serve his community.

“I have been practicing for 36 years and have always been open to the idea and interested in mission work for quite some time now. I have attended a men’s Bible study and it has inspired me to become involved in the mission field,” he said.

It was four years in the making before the Chester Grace Dental Clinic opened its doors on May 4. The state-of the art, two-operatory facility is located on the first floor of the Frederick Douglass Christian School. The K-5 school is run by World Impact, an urban ministry that provides children with a quality, Christian-based education. Friess, a former resident of Chadds Ford, had been a longtime supporter of World Impact and the school. He knew Chester was in great need for a facility like this and donated $100,000 to start the clinic. Friess learned there was an empty room in the school and construction began on the bleak concrete room.

Other businesses signed on and wanted to be involved to help support and facilitate the opening of the clinic. Equipment and services were donated from Benco Dental in Horsham, Carestream Dental of Atlanta, Cunningham Construction in Havertown and McGillian Architecture of Bala Cynwyd. The clinic has brand-new dental chairs and X-ray and sterilization equipment.

Dr. Fetter said, “We’re offering a clinic in an environment that really needs it. We’ve seen about 100 patients since we’ve opened and it is obvious that they haven’t seen a dentist for an extended period of time.”

Currently, the clinic offers basic care, dental hygiene exams, restorative care and X-rays. Patients also receive information about preventive care between their routine checkups. Chester Grace is a low-fee clinic, with patients paying only $10 for the care they receive.

Dr. Fetter is excited and optimistic about the future of the Chester Grace Dental Clinic. He anticipates that the clinic will be open more than one day a week. “As many days as the patients need us to be open,” he said. He also hopes they can bring in specialists and offer more advanced treatment options.

“The ChesPenn Hospital is located in the neighborhood and they have two dentists on staff. They are able to see the patients with prosthetic needs. Unfortunately, we don’t have the finances to accept those patients yet,” Dr. Fetter said. The ChessPenn Hospital also offers a sliding fee schedule and Dr. Fetter hopes to create a working relationship to better serve the community together.

Dr. Fetter is seeking community and financial support. “People are enthusiastic and express interest as word spreads throughout the community,” he said. By hosting open houses, Dr. Fetter hopes guests will gift a monetary donation or supplies. Ongoing efforts to host additional fundraisers will help offset the costs to operate the clinic.

The Chester Grace Dental Clinic is open every Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Drs. Fetter and Pulliam take turns volunteering at the clinic on Fridays, allowing one of them to still see patents at their Wayne Family Dentistry office. If anyone is interested in contacting Dr. Fetter about the Clinic, he can be reached at kfonion@aol.com.