After more than 40 years of service to the Columbus community, a local city councilman has closed his private dental practice and is donating the practice to underserved people living in Texas.

Frank Jerome first opened his dental office on Central Avenue in Columbus in 1971 after serving two years with the U.S. Marines, including a year in Vietnam. He was drawn to the city after seeing it featured in a 1969 PBS special, he said.

Although he eventually relocated his practice to a downtown Washington Street office, Jerome said he was committed to staying in Columbus and serving the clients who became like family to him through the years.

But when his dental license and office lease both came up for renewal this year, the city councilman said he knew it was finally time to close up shop. He began the process of sifting through files, saying goodbye to his patients and clearing out the office that had become his home until the doors were officially closed to patients in January.

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But that ending didn’t signal the end of the life of his equipment, which included some of the industry’s most state-of-the-art technology, such as a 3D X-ray machine.

Rather than selling the equipment for use in another private practice, the long-time dentist said he chose to donate his entire practice to Orphan Grain Train, which often sends dental and other medical equipment to needy areas around the world.

Jerome’s donation, however, will be put to domestic use in a clinic in Texas, which was specially created to care for the underserved population, he said.

When he was approached about making the donation to Orphan Grain Train, the city councilman said he knew it was the right thing to do with the practice that had become his life.

Looking to the future and life after retirement, Jerome said he wants to spend more time working in the arts, particularly writing, painting and sculpting. He is already the author of Tooth Truth, which delves into the possible risks of using metals in dental care.

Jerome also said he wants to continue in his service to the Columbus community by devoting more of his time to his work as city council president.

About Frank Jerome

Frank Jerome moved to Columbus in 1971 after two years with the United States Marines. He opened his dental practice on Central Avenue and practiced in Columbus from that time on.

His career took him to every continent on the Earth except for Antarctica and put him in contact with several high-profile people, including the Dalai Lama. In 2000 he wrote Tooth Truth, a book that discusses the risks of using mercury and other metals in dental practices.

Jerome was elected to the Columbus City Council in 2011 and re-elected in 2015, and was also elected city council president in 2016.

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Olivia Covington is a reporter for The Republic. She can be reached at ocovington@therepublic.com or 812-379-5712.