Betty Wetherbee builds on a legacy of filling unmet needs

Betty Wetherbee clutched a stack of letters as she read a new one to herself. It was from the mother of a girl who had received braces through the Wetherbee Orthodontics Program at Tri-County Community Dental Clinic.

"It has made such a difference for my daughter," the letter read. Wetherbee grinned.

Photo caption: Betty Wetherbee. Inset photos: Teri Smith,
of Neenah, before and after her treatmment through the Wetherbee Orthodontics Program.

The program is doing what she had hoped: filling an unmet need for low-income children. Through the Foundation's Tri- County Community Dental Clinic Wetherbee Orthodontics Fund, dozens of children each year receive care for a variety of dental issues treated through orthodontia.

"I kept seeing these programs for children - the things they do not do are braces," says Wetherbee. "I think it's a great divide for children. The kids who cannot afford braces, they're looked down on. There's bullying, and the children feel like they're less."

"AFTER MY HUSBAND PASSED AWAY, I WAS DELUGED WITH LETTERS FROM HIS FORMER STUDENTS. I THOUGHT I HAD TO DO SOMETHING." -- Betty Wetherbee, who founded the Tri-County Community Dental Clinic Wetherbee Orthodontics Fund

For Wetherbee, the fund continues a legacy that she and her husband, Joe, built as they traveled the world. Seeing the devastation of wars and poverty, they left something behind at each place they visited to make life better for others.

Both natives of the Waupaca area, Betty and Joe spent the majority of their married life in Colorado where Joe, an artist, established the art department at a high school. Betty worked in customer service for a major phone company. When it merged with another, Betty was able to take early retirement to care for her elderly mother.

Wise investments, coupled with memorials for Joe after his sudden passing in 2009, have allowed Betty to create funds in Colorado and Wisconsin. It's a rewarding mission for Betty, as she recalled a recent meeting with a young woman who received braces from the fund. "What I told that little girl was 'You're as good as anybody else, you can do anything you want,'" Betty says.

Support the Wetherbee Orthodontics Program with a gift to the Tri-County Community Dental Clinic Wetherbee Orthodontics Program fund


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