These days, with everything going on in the world, sometimes we need a friendly reminder that when it comes down to it... most people are generally good and kind, and willing to help others. That's why Seattle Refined followed Delta Dental of Washington and the Tooth Fairy, as they surprised a local Smile Maker known for his good deeds and amazing grin.
Dean McAuley is a firefighter with Valley Regional Fire Authority in Pacific. He spends countless hours a year giving back, whether it's supporting the Tunnel to Towers project in New York City every year, raising money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association and the Leukemia Lymphoma Society, or donating time to the local Humane Society.
"He's the hardest working person I know. He gives everything of himself and he does it selflessly and he never expects anything in return," said Stacy McAuley, Dean's wife.
"Dean's kind of the infectious individual in the organization as far as inspiring people to go above and beyond in their community, to give selflessly, and go out of the way to help those who are in need," continued Eric Robertson, Administrator at Valley Regional Fire Authority.
Because of his generous heart, Dean was nominated as a Smile Maker in Delta Dental of Washington's Smile Power campaign.
"Smile Power is about celebrating the power of a health smile," said Kristi Ellefson, Delta Dental of Washington. "It's about recognizing people who do good things in their community and remind people that a healthy smile is a very powerful thing and with all the things going on in the world, we all need to remember to smile."
When the time came to surprise Dean, dozens of people came together to celebrate what was declared, "Dean Day." Dean was nominated by Carolyn Andrew. Her son trained with Dean back in 2003. Her son tragically passed away a year later, but Carolyn says Dean remains a part of the family. Carolyn couldn't attend "Dean Day," so Pacific Mayor, Leanne Guier stepped in to read a few words on Carolyn's behalf.
"I remember when my son first met Dean. He said, 'Mom, I'm studying with this guy who has the most incredible smile I've ever seen. I think he should be a model.' When I first met Dean at the graduation, I quickly agreed. His smile is infectious. Today, not only is Dean a dedicated firefighter, but he went on to become an EMT. He lives to support others, not matter what the circumstances present."
When Delta Dental read Dean's story, there was no question he's a Smile Maker.
"Everything he did, from the connections he made with their family to his volunteer work and dedication to his community, what doesn't this guy do? And, he's got a great smile," said Ellefson. "He's just been a pillar in his community, people look up to him and he deserves to be celebrated."
To honor Dean, Delta Dental made donations to both the Muscular Dystrophy Association and the Leukemia Lymphoma Society, along with providing dog and cat food to the local Humane Society. And then, the Smile Power team handed out free coffee to unsuspecting customers down the street at Two Sister's Espresso in celebration of "Dean Day."
"I do this stuff. I love doing it. I'm surrounded by great people and it means something to them," said Dean McAuley, firefighter and Smile Maker. "That's really what it's about. I hope everyone in the world hopes their life makes a difference. I think in this world today, you turn on the news and you go on with your day and that's all you can really hope for is put a smile on your face and hope it affects somebody. And, obviously it does. So, let that be the message."
Help Delta Dental of Washington surprise Smile Makers. Do you know someone who goes above and beyond? Nominate someone by filling out this form.