Sharing Smiles is a program that provides healing and hope to disadvantaged children in selected countries through quality health care, education, and training. By partnering with host country health care providers and civic leaders, we create smiles in three ways: by providing cleft lip and palate treatment, comprehensive dental care, and individualized pediatric rehabilitation programs. These lasting legacies ensure that children receive the care they need to live happy, hopeful lives. This life-changing program relies on generous gifts from donors like Clint and Peggy Carrico.
Growing up in a single-parent household after his father passed away when he was 13 years old, Clint knew the challenges of poverty and the hard work of running a hotel alongside his mother. He worked the front desk, made beds, and cleaned rooms as the primary member of the housekeeping staff, and joined with the kitchen personnel to prepare vegetables and other foods for the chefs to cook for hotel guests. Luckily Clint was athletic and a good football player. During his senior year at Wheeling High School, he was able to earn an athletic scholarship to play football for West Virginia University.
While competing for his team in college, Clint sustained a serious injury to the muscles in his right leg. In those days a college athlete’s health was not a priority and doctors were not easily available, especially for a poor young man from Wheeling, W. Va. Could he still play football for the next two seasons with this damaged limb? “Yes, I can,” Clint said. So, needing the scholarship to stay in school, he played the rest of his games at West Virginia on his injured leg which led to permanent damage and lifelong discomfort. Despite his disability, Clint performed well enough on the field to be elected Captain of the 1928 Team and to be chosen to participate in the National East-West Game. Even with these athletic successes, it was clear to Clint that poverty and lack of medical attention could bring permanent, lifelong heartache to an individual and their family. As he graduated from college and married Peggy, the United States fell into the grip of the Great Depression. Clint was forced to work two jobs to support his wife and one year later his infant son, Bill. He worked in a gas station pumping gas during the days and in the early morning hours he drove a bread truck to deliver baked goods to local markets.
Eventually, things improved and new opportunities opened as the American economy emerged from the economic downturn. Clint went to work for Wheeling Steel, ultimately becoming the Director of Security for the company. He prospered, yet the memories of those early years of hardship never left his mind. Clint’s life took another twist when, late in his career, he left Wheeling Steel to become the Director of Public Relations for Ohio Valley Regional Hospital. During this time, he learned more about the wonders that medical help could bring to improve people’s lives. When Clint retired fully in the 1980s, he and Peggy moved to Winter Park, Fl. to be closer to Bill. There they lived happily and comfortably until Peggy’s death in 1992. Clint was devastated. He had lost his best friend and his partner in marriage for over 64 years.
What could he do? How could he pay tribute to her, and keep her memory and energy alive? Clint found his answer in Sharing Smiles—a locally based charity which champions children with facial birth irregularities. The charity itself is unusual in the fact that Sharing Smiles treats the entire situation, and its services go well beyond the initial surgery of correcting the physical problem. It involves the whole healing process for both the child and the family involved. Furthermore, the patient’s progress is followed over years, not months to ensure a successful outcome. Additionally, Sharing Smiles partners with the local Rotary Clubs in the areas that it services so that the operation can run smoothly and in accordance with local traditions. After much research, Clint decided that this was a solid and worthwhile charity that spent its limited resources wisely.
Clint spoke to Bill about Sharing Smiles and they both agreed that this would be a perfect way to honor Peggy. You see, besides loving children of all ages, Peggy also shared a physical connection with Sharing Smiles’ mission due to her lifelong struggle with dental and facial problems. The estate could help provide much-needed cleft lip and palate assistance to people who lived in areas where they would otherwise be burdened to live out their entire lives with this physically and socially crippling disability. So, with his family’s support, Clint changed his will to leave his estate to Bill only for personal medical issues, and upon Bill’s death, the full estate would be given to Sharing Smiles.
After Clint passed away in 1999, Bill and his wife Judy kept in close contact with Sharing Smiles. They showed their continuing support by providing personal donations of time and money, and by allowing the charity early access to much of Clint’s Estate. Thus, this became truly a family affair and involved a close personal partnership between the charity and the family. Bill died in December 2020 and with his death, the estate in its entirety was bestowed to Sharing Smiles. In the end, everyone benefited from Clint’s forthright choice —the affected children, their families, and by providing a legacy that would ensure true relief to those in desperate need--Clint, Peggy, and Bill.
To learn more about Sharing Smiles Go Here to visit their website.
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