Dr. Dennis Finton has been recognized for his many accomplishments as a well-known dentist, from Meadville to throughout Pennsylvania.
But if you don’t know him as “Dr. Dennie,” you might know him from all his volunteer work over the past 35-plus years.
Over the past few years, he has reduced his volunteer activities to five main ones in which he currently is active.
Attending the recent “Through a Veteran’s Eye: A Salute,” he watched as his father, Dr. Abe Finton, was recipient of one of the Quilts of Valor.
He said, “After watching the presentation of 21 Quilts of Valor to very deserving men and women, my efforts are small. But, I will continue to do my best to help others and make our community as strong as it can be. Currently I am serving as vice chair of the Meadville Water Authority which I enjoy very much. We are so fortunate to have an amble supply of great water for our area and to have it be delivered with a superior work force and leadership team at MAWA (Meadville Area Water Authority).”
He also serves on the community advisory board of Northwest Bank.
“It is rewarding to see local companies growing, especially those companies that are being transitioned to the next generation of family members,” he said of that work.
“Winnie, our dental office therapy dog, and I are part of the Paws Hand Delivered (PHD) under the direction of Sue Anderson. Winnie and I have made visits to MMC (Meadville Medical Center) Transitional Care Unit, Women’s Services, and are heading to Allegheny College to work with students during final exams. Winnie is the star as I am just along for the ride,” Finton said.
While doing more serious work, he also takes time to enjoy music. He plays trumpet in the Shades of Time big band, directed by Alan Amy.
“We always appear at Old Home Days to give back to the band’s original roots from Maplewood High School attendance area. Yep, they even let this city slicker into the group,” he said with a laugh. “I enjoy it as we do visit the local nursing homes and keep the residents’ toes tapping.”
While he does professional work, he also enjoys other work.
“Finally, I am a grunt. I help by doing what I can for the Ernst Trail. Weed eating, some mowing, and trimming during the active trail season,” he said.
He said he scaled back to the five areas recently.
However, his past volunteer work has included being “lucky to serve” in the Meadville Wolves Club, First Presbyterian Church, Crawford County Dental Society, MMC, and the Meadville Jaycees.
He also has been a peer mentor at Allegheny College and in the district Dental Society for pre-dental students.
Other past volunteerism ranges from Meadville Jaycees (of which he has named Jaycee of the Year) to Crawford County Hockey and Meadville Bulldog Hockey, both of which he was named Supporter of the Year. He served past president of both Meadville and Crawford County Youth Hockey and Meadville Bulldog Hockey.
He also is past chairman of the Meadville Shade Tree Commission and Crawford County United Way, Professional Division.
In addition, he was a board member of the Meadville YMCA, elder in the Presbyterian Church, and secretary of the MMC Foundation.
His interests have been many and he said he was influenced to “volunteer by the heavy hitters before me: Dr. Abe Finton, Paul Huber, Dr. David Kirkpatrick and Art Cocolin.”
“I am proud to be around my current volunteer peers of Duane Koller (MARC), Jamie Plunkett (Bulldog Hockey), Steve Cappellino (Wolves Club), Jan VanTuil (Crawford Central School District Board), Alan Amy (Shades of Time), Dick Edlington (Ernst Trail), John Harrison (Ernst Trail), Tom Stanton (Youth Hockey), Rich Kebert (Youth Soccer), and Roger Gildea (MARC), to name a few.”
He is passing on his love of his community and volunteerism. “I have encouraged the generation of our two sons to continue with their volunteer efforts wherever they may make their homes. A little volunteering goes a looong way!,” he added.
Finton has certainly spent his life making that contribution to the community in many areas.
It is a contribution he has enjoyed over the years.