Scranton native volunteers time, skills to war effort;

22 May 2003 | Sgt. G.S. Thomas

Civilian support for the war on terrorism has come in many forms. But for one Scranton, Pa., civilian, that support entailed moving his family more than 600 miles to volunteer his services.

Doctor Stanley Goldberg volunteers full time as a dentist providing care to Marines and sailors at the Mainside Dental Clinic.

"The defining moment was probably 9-11," said Goldberg, a 1958 graduate of Temple University in Philadelphia. "I have a son who worked on the 105th floor of (one tower in) the World Trade Center, and thankfully for my family, he came out alive. That was a very gut-wrenching experience. At that time, President Bush made a very convincing statement that we were going to have a war on terrorism, and I felt I had an ability to contribute to the war effort."

Goldberg began volunteering in 2001 by writing three letters offering to volunteer his services to the Army, Air Force or Navy. With responses from all three, he was most impressed with the response from the Navy.

"The Navy called me at least twice before they finally reached me," said Goldberg. "They showed a real personal interest in me."

In March this year, Goldberg received a phone call from the Navy, informing him his services could be used.  After about two-and-a-half weeks of packing, he and his family relocated to Eastern North Carolina.

Goldberg previously served two years as a dentist in the Air Force at Pope Air Force Base, Fayetteville, N.C., so the transition into a military atmosphere was not difficult.

"My time in the Air Force was a while ago, but I felt I could adapt quite easily," said Goldberg. "My family is all grown so it wasn't a very difficult transition. We just packed up and came down here."

Goldberg said the clinic personnel here and their experience impress him. Most of the civilian dental assistants are not formally trained, according to Goldberg.

"The supporting staff here is really very well trained," said Goldberg. "They can do a lot of things most civilian dental assistants can't do, and they do some things civilian dentists usually do instead of the assistants."

In turn, clinic staff members said they are equally impressed with Goldberg's experience and volunteering.

"He's a great guy for doing this," said Seaman Henry Russell, dental technician, Mainside Dental Clinic. "And he really knows his stuff."

Goldberg will continue working at the clinic, finishing out six to nine months of volunteering by seeing an average of six patients a day, five days a week, with no expectations of getting anything in return.

"I didn't volunteer to get anything out of it," said Goldberg. "I just wanted to come down here, work and participate, and help with the war effort. I think the majority of Americans, given the opportunity, would like to participate and help. They just aren't sure how to do it or go about it. Luckily I have a skill that I was able to put to use."

After he puts in his time here, Goldberg said he's going back to doing what he did before - spending the winters skiing in Vale, Colo., and the summers seeing patients in Scranton.