For most adults, the Tooth Fairy is a fantasy figure. But to her co-workers, community partners and thousands of children across South Dakota, Carrie Mikkonen is South Dakota’s real-life Tooth Fairy.
Carrie is retiring from Delta Dental of South Dakota this week after 13 years as the manager of the Delta Dental Mobile Program.
Her tenure at Delta Dental has been remarkable. While she’s a registered nurse, she started our Mobile Program with no dental experience, one truck, four staff and an abundance of passion and energy. Today, there are two mobile dental trucks, 16 staff, and the program has provided dental care to more than 36,000 children – and counting.
Carrie served as the program’s manager, truck driver, lay-mechanic and most importantly — chief cheerleader. She is gifted with the ability to make every person she meets feel special. When she was on the road, she’d return to Pierre each week with stories of “her kids” who needed both dental care and a kind heart. Carrie helped provide both.
She also gave those of us who worked with her a healthy dose of laughter. With two trucks on the road a combined 80 weeks a year, keeping the generators, dental equipment, and trucks operating is a constant challenge. Add in South Dakota’s harsh winters and sizzling summers and things can get maddeningly complicated. In the end, Carrie’s quick wit and humor always made those tough situations more bearable.
Tens of thousands of children have healthier smiles because of Carrie’s vision and advocacy. She worked tirelessly to ensure that some of South Dakota’s most vulnerable children received quality dental care and oral health education.
We wish Carrie the best as she enjoys her retirement. There can only be one Tooth Fairy named Carrie Mikkonen – she will be missed greatly and impossible to replace.
— Written by Scott Jones, President and CEO of Delta Dental of South Dakota