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Leifeste Dental celebrates 20 years

By Dawn Burleigh

dawn.burleigh@orangeleader.com

 

Leifeste Dental celebrated an anniversary with a different twist.

Instead of a reception to honor Dr. Nina Leifeste, the dentist asked others to consider donating to a new ministry, The Lord’s Vessel. The non-profit organization involved in rescue, safety, care, education and job training for at risk girls in Roatan, Honduras.

Leifeste is a founding member of the organization whose purpose is to rescue young girls from a future of sex trade and to break the poverty cycle.

The Lord’s Vessel is but one example of the mission work Leifeste is involved.

Leifeste, with her husband, the late Sam Leifeste, bought the dental practice in 1996 from her father-in law.

“I was a nursing major when I met the love of my life,” Leifeste said. “I wanted to do something more in line with what he was doing.”

The two were married for 19 years when Sam passed away unexpectedly from surgery complications.

Losing her husband was one of many tragedies she faced. Just 18 months later, she faced a battle of aggressive cancer and also lost everything during Hurricane Ike.

All while raising two children.

“My mantra is ‘Not bad for an old widow with two children,” Leifeste said. “I am doing what I can with the gifts God gave me.”

Taking care of Orange resident’s smiles is not the only dental work Leifeste provides. She also uses her skills in other countries such as Honduras and India.

“Mission work is my passion,” Leifeste said. “I love serving the underserved.”

In a three-day span, during a mission trip, she has pulled 600 teeth.

“That is God,” Leifeste said. “There is no way I could do that here. My right arm would fall off. God gives me what I need to get it done while I am there.”

It was during a mission trip Leifeste met Laura Jones. Jones has worked at the practice fir two years.

“All her charity work is what attracted me to the position,” Jones said. “I love that she is always giving back.”

A dental program in connection with Orange Christian Service is another example of the charity work Leifeste has provided.

“We have provided the service for about three years,” Leifeste said. “Seniors from Houston provide the work. I enjoy mentoring the students and passing on my knowledge.”

Senior students of University of Texas in Houston man the mobile unit to serve those with dental needs but cannot afford dental care.

Teaching is another passion of Leifeste.

“It is important to get kids involved in mission work,” Leifeste said. “A local charity is a start. We have to get society trained beyond looking in the mirror.”

It is the caring attitude, which has kept Dana Denton at the office for over 18 years.

“This is more like family,” Denton said. “It is the personal care provided. We have gone to the homes of patients to check on them.”

Patients are not just another appointment to the staff; each one is considered a part of the family.

To make a donation to The Lord’s Vessel, send check or money order to 8739 Turtle Road, Orange, Texas, 77632.