Retired Vancouver dentist receives award for his community service
RIDGEFIELD — A retired Clark County dentist received a statewide award and a $3,000 grant last week for his service to the community.
Dr. Remigius “Remy” Eussen DDS, of Ridgefield, was one of seven honored at an event in Renton as recipients of Molina Healthcare’s Community Champion award.
“I’ve been really lucky and blessed with a great career, good education that’s provided well for myself and my family,” Eussen said. “I just want to give back to the community. And if people would just open up their eyes and see what is out there, there’s a lot of people that aren’t as lucky as us. And they just need a leg up to help out. So that’s, that’s, that’s my motivation.”
Eussen worked as a pediatric dentist in Vancouver for 17 years before retiring in 2016. Prior to that, he worked at the Willamette Dental Group for five years, and before that served as a general and pediatric dentist in the U.S. Navy.
His first time out of the gates, he applied for both medical and dental school. He was turned down on all counts. The second time, he was accepted in both. It was a careful decision, and he feels he made the right one.
Eussen’s wife is a pediatric physician, and seeing the long hours and intensive study that is medical school, he jokingly says he believes he made a great decision following dentistry.
Eussen has served on Delta Dental of Washington Foundation’s Board of Trustees, and also worked with the organizations SmileMobile program which travels to underserved communities to provide dental care to children.
In the early 2000’s, he helped establish and now advocates for the Access to Baby and Child Dentistry (ABCD) in Clark, Cowlitz, Klickitat, and Skamania counties.
“What it was is to get the young children, from birth to age five, into the dental office, and get them in early to prevent problems from happening,” Eussen said. “That program really took off here in Clark County, and it’s probably one of the higher-ranked counties in the state now.”
During the award ceremony, Eussen along with his fellow honorees, were awarded trophies and the $3,000 grant to be “paid forward” to a nonprofit of their choosing.
“A little difference can make a big difference,” Eussen said. “You know, people would just get involved and help each other out, get involved with their communities and that’s where I get my reward from. Seeing others getting involved and helping out.”
Eussen plans to give the money to the Free Clinic of Southwest Washington, where he now volunteers much of his time providing dental care to the underserved and homeless.
This was the 11th annual Community Champion’s award for Molina Healthcare of Washington, which provides government-funded health services to its some 800,000 members; many of whom are low-income individuals.
Rep. Paul Harris as well as the president and vice president of Molina Healthcare attended the event and shook hands with all recipients. Eusssen said it was an honor to meet them.
The award event began at 6 p.m. with a reception with the ceremony at 7 p.m. inside the Renton Pavilion in Renton. Live music and a welcome by a local tribal representative was also performed.
“I was one of amongst seven and really felt honored to be there because the other six recipients have also done a lot of stuff,” he said. “Started their own programs volunteered … really make a difference in their communities. So it was a good event. I really enjoyed it.”