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Monday, February 13, 2017

The "Like Father, Like Son" Story

It was an ordinary day.  Looking at the face staring back at me from the rear page of the Lancaster Newspaper.  Face belongs to a young man named Paul Weibel DMD who was a graduate of nearby Hempfield High School in Lancaster County.  According to the announcement in the paper, Paul studied at Villanova University and the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine and recently completed his orthodontic residency at Seton Hill University.  He is planning to join the practice known as Weibel Orthodontics located on Marietta Ave. in Lancaster, PA.  So far nothing out of line that would surprise you except for the fact that Paul isn't going to be the founder of the practice where he will work.  The person that did that was his father Steve who opened the practice many year ago.  Dr. Steve Weibel is not only skilled with dental tools, but also with a Remington 22 caliber rifle.  Steve was one of the members of my rifle team that won the Pennsylvania State Championship in 1972.  He along with nine other members of the rifle team annihilated the competition at State College by firing a perfect score that Saturday morning years ago.  The photo of Paul in the paper today is a spitting image of what Steve looked like when he was younger.  Actually haven't seen Steve for quite a few years; since he did orthodontic work on my youngest son.  As with most of the members of my rifle team, we talked about school, friends, and what they wanted to do in life.  Steve shared with me for quite a few years of his high school experience that he wanted to be a dentist; practicing in orthodontics.  
Dr. Steve Weibel is pictured standing next to me on the
far right of the photograph of the State Champion Rifle Team.
That's all he talked about.  One day close to the end of his senior year in 1973 I told him that if he ever became a dentist I would be sure to bring my children to him to have their orthodontic work done.  We made a pact that day that I would bring my children to him and he would give them the best teeth possible.  The deal was made and we both kept our part of the agreement.  My oldest two children luckily didn't need orthodontic work, but our youngest son did.  I can still remember the first visit to see Steve at his office.  I told his nurse that Steve was on my rifle team and was one of the best shots on the team.  She told me he talked about the team quite often and that it was nice to get to see his coach in person.  Steve entered and it was like we were still on the rifle range talking about life all over again.  He told my wife and I what he would do for our son and told us there would be no charge for his services.  Really appreciated the gesture, but told him he'll never stay in business that way.  Only way he was going to me my son's orthodontist was if my son was a paying patient.  We went back and forth a bit, but he finally agreed on a price; a slightly reduced rate for his services.  We made many visits to his office and found Steve to be as good with his dental tools and knowledge as he was with the Remington.  My visits to his office with my son were usually the highlight of the day.  Rehashing "the good ole times" as he worked on my son's teeth … well it was like those practice sessions every winter rifle season when my team members talked about what they would do after high school and wondering if their coach would every see then again.  I'm sorry to say that I have only keep in touch with a few of the members and the photo in the paper today gave me another reason to call and hash over those memories with one of them.  And, I loved it! It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

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