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Oral Surgeon Samuel Scroggins to Climb Highest Peak in His 37th State in Conjunction with Total Solar Eclipse

Posted on Monday, April 8, 2024

Samuel E. Scroggins, DMD, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon with Roanoke’s Southwest Virginia Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, and his wife, Verina, aim to climb to the highest point in all 50 states, an activity known as highpointing. They’ve done 36 to-date, and will check another state off their list today, as they climb Ohio’s Campbell Hill, in conjunction with the total solar eclipse.

“Campbell Hill is located in Bellefontaine, about 50 miles outside of Columbus,” says Dr. Scroggins. “It has an elevation of 1,549.09 feet (472.16 meters), so it’s more of a walk than a climb, but Bellefontaine is in the path of the totality of the solar eclipse, so we thought it would be a fun way to check another highpoint off our list, while experiencing the eclipse together. It’s truly an once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

Campbell Hill was previously home to the Bellefontaine Air Force Station. Currently, it is occupied by the Ohio Hi-Point Career Center. After Campbell Hill, the Scroggins’ next scheduled highpointing adventure will be Mt. Hood in Oregon, which will be an ice climb. Mt. Hood is approximately 11,240 feet (3,426 meters). It’s also a potentially active volcano – according to the U.S. Geological Survey – with glaciers, snowfields and sulfur pits.

“The hikes are all very different. Some are a short walk, on a path, to a sign that says you’re standing in the tallest place in the state, and others are more complex,” notes Dr. Scroggins. “That’s one of the things I like about it.”

Dr. Scroggins and Verina started highpointing approximately seven years ago, after a conversation between friends.

“We had some friends visiting from Birmingham, Alabama, where we used to live, and we were all sitting around in the kitchen, talking about what we wanted to do next in life,” recalls Dr. Scroggins. “One of our friends said that she was working toward hiking the Appalachian Trail, which was something she was doing a little bit at a time.”

“I remember thinking that I like hiking, but that I wouldn’t want to sleep on the ground the way she was doing,” continues Dr. Scroggins. “So my wife and I talked about it and we thought we might like to try going to the highest point in all 50 states, and we did some research on it, and discovered that it’s a thing called highpointing, and there’s even a club for it and everything.”

The Scroggins always highpoint together, and kiss on the top of every peak. Often some – or all of – their eight children (currently ages 2-21), join them. Dr. Scroggins says highpointing has helped strengthen his relationships with his wife and children, has helped his children to be more resilient and has helped him to sustain a better work-life balance.

“Highpointing has been an incredible experience for us as a couple, as a family, and as individuals. You get to see and experience places and each other in a way that you wouldn’t get to, otherwise,” says Dr. Scroggins.

In addition, Dr. Scroggins says highpointing has taught him many lessons that he applies as an oral surgeon. “Whether you’re hiking or treating patients, preparation is key. Understand each individual situation as much as possible. Explore all the angles and have the best solution in place for all possibilities, including the right equipment. Some hikes require more specialized equipment – like ice picks, carabiners and rope – others don’t. It’s the same with OMS.”

The most important thing, he adds, is the application. “Once you’re prepared, you need to move forward and learn, so that the process is always smoother, always improving, no matter how good it was before. Ideally, you want to do that with everything in life.”

Dr. Scroggins has been in private practice in Virginia since 2014. He is a board-certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon – the highest credential that can be obtained in the specialty, according to the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.

A graduate of Brigham Young University and the University of Alabama Dental School, Dr. Scroggins practiced general dentistry in the Birmingham area for three years before completing his internship at the Medical College of Georgia. After which, he completed his oral and maxillofacial surgery residency at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson.

Southwest Virginia Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery is known throughout the region as an expert provider of oral surgery and facial trauma services, including emergency care. The practice offers a wide variety of OMS procedures and treatments, from dental implants to tooth extractions, facial trauma treatment, bone grafting, wisdom teeth removal and more.


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