Laboratory Owner in Need of Aid
Marvin Janes, CDT lost everything in a fire that claimed his home, laboratory, and modes of transportation—help him get back on his feet
It was in the early hours of the morning on February 7, 2014 that Marvin Janes, CDT, his wife, son, and grandson were awakened by neighbors pounding on the door of their Summersville, KY home. The building, which was not only the family residence, but also Janes’ dental laboratory, was ablaze—the work of arsonists. Everyone in the house escaped unharmed. However, the fire claimed the entire structure, as well as the Janes’ cars, leaving the family with only the clothes on their backs.
Built in 2012 over the course of an entire year, Janes’ home and laboratory represented a culmination of his almost 30 years in the dental technology industry. Janes first started his dental laboratory training in 1985 as a part of his military service at the Army Academy of Health Sciences at Fort Sam in Houston, TX. “I really liked laboratory work, and as soon as I left the military I started seeking advanced training,” explains Janes. After earning his CDT certification, Janes opened his laboratory in 1996. From there, the business grew significantly, prompting Janes to bring on his wife as a business partner. Janes’ laboratory specialized in dentures and flexible partials, although the new building was also equipped to produce pressable ceramics, a market that the Janeses hoped to tap into with an improved workspace.
However, those plans had to be put on hold in November of 2013, when Janes’ wife was involved in a serious car accident. She suffered extensive injuries, including two broken ankles, a broken pelvis, a broken back, broken ribs, and a broken sternum. At the time of the fire, she was still unable to walk on her own.
Even with his wife unable to help in the laboratory, Janes was still functioning with a full caseload. However, after the flames were extinguished, Janes found that all of the cases he had been working on were destroyed. “The only cases that made it out of the fire were two frameworks I had outsourced to laboratory in Missouri,” Janes explains.
Today, although Janes’ laboratory is gone, the relationships and connections that he built with his suppliers and colleagues in the dental laboratory industry are stronger than ever. Immediately after the incident, Janes got in touch with Dean Mersky, DDS, President of OPT-In Dental Laboratory Cooperative, a group in which Janes joined prior to the fire. OPT-In was formed to partner small laboratory owners with other laboratories and suppliers for support and guidance in a changing industry. “The culture of OPT-In is one of shared responsibility, and there are times when we need to think about each other beyond just normal professional discourse. When one of our own is in need, it is our shared responsibility to spring into action and address those needs,” says Mersky.
Once they were made aware of Janes’ plight, the NADL established a distribution site for donations to the Janes family. Mersky also reached out to OPT-In corporate partners for help. “We’ve reached out to different communities and media outlets, as well as all of our corporate partners. Already, we’ve had a lot of donations sent toward getting Marvin and his family back on their feet,” describes Mersky. As of the posting of this article, a number of corporate entities have pledged to help, and the Tennessee Dental Laboratory Foundation has agreed to donate money to the Janes’ fund.
At the time of the fire, Janes’ business was booming, and his planned expansion into pressable ceramics was rooted in the desire to meet increasing demand from his clients. In the month and a half since the incident, however, Janes has decided that rather than try to reopen the laboratory at full capacity, he and his wife would start with the basics and build up from there. “We want to do pressable ceramics at some point in the future, but for now we are going to build slowly and concentrate on getting back to where we were before the fire,” says Janes.
For now, the outpouring of support he received from the laboratory community has overwhelmed Janes. One of his competitors even offered him some of his old equipment. “We are just so grateful for all of the support we have received from the laboratory community,” he says. “The outpouring of good will that we have received is just incredible. Sometimes it brings tears to my eyes because all of these people that I have only ever known as business partners are reaching out to help in any way that they can. I feel so blessed to be a part of such a supportive and generous community.”
The best turn of events came recently when his wife was able to take her first steps since the accident. “I think we can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.”
If you would like to help Marvin Janes, please visit www.dentallabfoundation.org/donate-online.cfm to make an online donation.