The military and the dental industry.
The two might seem unrelated – but maybe they’re not quite so different, after all.
Both require integrity, dedication, and service.
And one major thing they have in common?
Hailey is a dental hygienist in Charleston, South Carolina – who has also been in the Air Force Reserves for almost 8 years. Originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, she enlisted in her hometown, and then moved to Pope AFB in North Carolina for 4 years. Now, she’s at Joint Base Charleston, where she has also been for about 4 years.
In honor of the Fourth of July, we celebrate and thank Hailey and all current service members and veterans of the U.S. military.
Learn more about Hailey and her service in the military, her career as a hygienist, and her dedication to serving others for the greater good.
Biteline: Can you tell us a bit about your service in the military?
Hailey Miels: As an Aircrew Flight Equipment Technician (which is very different from being a hygienist!), I inspect, maintain, and repair life-sustaining equipment that is on the aircrafts. At JB Charleston, we have C-17s. We work on a lot of equipment, including night vision goggles, emergency parachutes, life rafts, oxygen masks for the pilots and aircrew, and chemical warfare gear.
B: Why is it important for you to serve?
HM: I would definitely have to say that serving my country in any way that I can is what is most meaningful to me. The greatest part about serving in the military (especially enlisting at a young age) is that it teaches you so much about relationships and about yourself. You learn professionalism, pride, respect, responsibility, work ethic, dependability, and you develop a great understanding of working well with a team.
B:What is your favorite part of serving in the military?
HM: My favorite part of serving has definitely been the camaraderie and the friendships that I’ve built. Because of the things you go through together, there is something different about these friendships – you always have each other’s back and I have lifelong friends that I am forever grateful for.
B: How did you become involved in dentistry?
HM: Growing up, my mom was a dental assistant at the same office for 25 years. So, not only did I just grow up in the dental office, I got to see the relationships she built with the patients. I always knew I would love that aspect of dentistry, so I decided to use my GI Bill to go to dental hygiene school.
B: What is your favorite thing about being a hygienist?
HM: I know the relationship answer seems to be a trend with me, but the relationships you make with your patients! There is something special about seeing a patient every 6 months and catching up with their family life, work life, and anything new with them (good or bad). It can be therapy for both of us! Also, helping a fearful patient trust you and get the help that they need is something really special – and again, that rapport is something that is very rewarding.
B: What are your most important values when it comes to your work as a hygienist and your military service?
HM: I would have to say that my most important values would be integrity/honesty, compassion/kindness, and respect. I always try to do what is right for myself, my patients, and anything regarding the work I do.
B: Do you find that there is any overlap between the two careers?
HM: There is a giant overlap. Yes, the day-to-day is completely different, but there are also huge similarities – attention to detail, working well with others, dependability, and a dedicated mindset. They are very different, but have been extremely rewarding in their own ways for me, and I am truly proud of being an Airman and a hygienist.
As we prepare to celebrate the Fourth of July, and all throughout the year, we thank Hailey for her service – in the dental industry and the military.
And again, thank you to all who serve.
Read more fun facts, expert advice, and dental industry news on the Biteline blog.
And don’t forget to share with your dental friends!