Dentist ‘crowned’ with AF level award

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Jonathan Stefanko
  • 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Standing out from amongst thousands of dental Airmen around the world Maj. Curtis Hayes, 86th Dental Squadron chief oral and maxillofacial surgeon, was recently named Air Force Dentist of the Year for 2013.

The purpose of the Air Force dentist of the year award is to acknowledge the exceptional performance of a military dentist in the line of duty.

Hayes examines, diagnoses and treats abnormalities of oral and maxillofacial structures, provides direct oral and maxillofacial surgery services, examines patients, interprets and evaluates radiographs, prescribes and performs surgery and provides consultation services.

"It is a very humbling experience to be selected out of the entire Air Force dental corps," Hayes said. "To be hand-picked out of thousands of dentists is just amazing."

One of the many ways Hayes exemplified his skills was during a mission in Africa where he led a four- member dental team to provide care for underprivileged children.

"During our time in Africa we were able to provide basic dental screenings for children as well as help improve their school that had limited funding," Hayes said. "From applying fresh paint on a deteriorating wall to relieving children of dental pain, it was really gratifying being able to provide aid to people who really needed us."

Though Hayes was astonished to receive the prestigious award, it was of no surprise for the people he works with every day.

"Hayes is a very driven individual," said Col. John Kersey, 86th Dental Squadron dental support flight commander. "It didn't surprise me at all when he was named Air Force Dentist of the Year, when I first met him I could see he had a quest for excellence and he proved it every day in his work and I couldn't see anyone else deserving this achievement more than he does."

During his time working strenuous hours and operating numerous surgeries Hayes explained that he has done nothing alone and without his team none of what he has done would have been possible.

"My team is truly amazing," Hayes said. "Being able to teach them as we work together and watch them grow and learn is my greatest accomplishment. To open their eyes to see all the good they do for the people they help on a day-to-day basis is so satisfying and of course I wouldn't be able to do half of what I did without them."