Anchorage dentist, assistant provide humanitarian aid in Ukraine

An Anchorage dentist and his assistant provide humanitarian aid in Ukraine
Published: Nov. 15, 2023 at 3:38 PM AKST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - It’s not something you might think of when you hear the term “combat ready”, but soldiers experiencing dental pain can have a hard time fighting, according to long-time Anchorage dentist Dr. Stephen Maloney.

That’s why Maloney and his dental assistant Janae Shannon packed their bags — and lots of medical equipment — and traveled to Eastern Ukraine for a two-week aid mission in October.

The pair were volunteering for an organization called TAPS Ukraine, an extension of the Alaska-founded organization Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) that provides support for surviving military families.

Once in Ukraine, Maloney and Shannon worked with local dentists to treat soldiers on the front lines of battle.

“It was amazing the infections and problems that these young men are fighting under,” Maloney said. “And we were happy to relieve their discomfort so that they can continue to do their job.”

For Shannon, the mission was even more meaningful. As the spouse of a military member, Shannon said she felt a special connection to the Ukrainian soldiers who were fighting for their country’s freedom.

“The number that came up to us and told us how grateful they were for the U.S. support was pretty incredible,” she added.

Both Shannon and Maloney said they would be happy to return to Ukraine on another mission — and contribute what they could, even in a small way — to a cause they both believe in.