Optometry’s Fund for Disaster Relief offers aid where it’s needed most

Optometry’s Fund for Disaster Relief offers aid where it’s needed most

In November 2013, the practice of Kurt Finklang, O.D., in Troy, Missouri, was struck by lightning and the resulting fire could not be contained. Less than a year since the fire, Finklang Eye Health Associates has rebuilt and moved back into their once-destroyed office.

"No one ever thinks they are going to have a disaster like that. It's something you have absolutely no control over."

Optometrists dedicate their lives to helping others—but what happens when they become the ones most in need? That's where Optometry's Fund for Disaster Relief steps in.

Optometry's Fund for Disaster Relief provides immediate financial relief to optometrists who are in need, due to natural disasters or catastrophes such as fires. The fund was created to help optometrists in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

A program of Optometry Cares®—The AOA Foundation, Optometry's Fund for Disaster Relief aids ODs whose practices have been structurally damaged so they cannot serve patients, which hampers a practice's ability to generate income.

The fund in action
Kurt Finklang, O.D., who has been in practice for more than 30 years, knows firsthand the importance of Optometry's Fund for Disaster Relief. His practice was struck by lightning in November 2013. The resulting fire could not be contained, and his practice burned to the ground.

"No one ever thinks they are going to have a disaster like that. It's something you have absolutely no control over," Dr. Finklang says.

Dr. Finklang, who practices in Troy, Missouri, contacted his state optometric association, who directed him to Optometry's Fund for Disaster Relief.

Although Dr. Finklang had insurance for his practice and the building, he expected the insurance money to take a while to kick in. Once he contacted Optometry's Fund for Disaster Relief, Dr. Finklang recalls relief funds arriving relatively quickly—less than a month later.

"When something like this happens, your main concern is the employees. Labs will work with you. Leases will work with you a little bit, but you still need money to pay your staff. It's important to take care of the people who have been supporting you for years," Dr. Finklang says.

With hard work and financial assistance from Optometry's Fund for Disaster Relief—less than one year after the fire—Finklang Eye Health Associates has recently rebuilt and moved back into their once-destroyed office.

How to help fellow ODs in need
Donate to Optometry's Fund for Disaster Relief to ensure funds are available when a disaster strikes.

If your practice has fallen victim to a disaster, apply for a grant here.

Photo courtesy of Kurt Finklang, O.D.

November 7, 2014

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