Talk to a customer service agent

Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-5 p.m. ET

Agent Straight-Talk




Dean George is the Marketing Specialist and Content Creator for Dental Insurance
Store and its social media channels. He is a regular contributor to Agent Straight Talk, the
only consumer blog explaining the ins, outs and in-betweens of dental insurance and
discount dental plans. READ MORE

Keep up with our authors and the latest dentistry chatter here:

Email Me Email:
Subscribe in a reader

Contest winner, little girl and children’s hospital score huge win in NFL finale

Mar 08, 2012 prides itself on the virtue of our entire team, from our highly trained agents who help callers with questions about their dental plan options to everyone in administration. Below is an endearing snapshot of the family of one of our employees and how they spent Super Sunday XLVI. Thanks to Linda S. of’s Human Resources for this example of caring during one family’s worst nightmare.

Joel Markland said after he was selected as the winner of a Super Sunday XLVI promotional contest sponsored by Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) that he wanted to teach his three girls the importance of giving back. As events unfolded that game day, his worthy example resulted in a lot more than that.

Markland (Linda’s son-in-law), an environmental consultant, was one of nearly 1,000 National Football League fans that tweeted why they wanted Shannon Sharpe, an NFL Hall-of-Famer and CBS color commentator, to be their “wingman” at a party for the NFL season finale. In addition to watching the big game with Sharpe, the winner would also be awarded $10,000 in prize money and a KFC-catered party featuring their spicy hot wings for 40 people.

On February third Markland’s tweet to KFC was selected the winner. After KFC officially announced Markland won, he said that he wanted to donate the $10,000 to the Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital at St. Vincent and hold the Wingman party there.  Contest officials determined that wasn’t feasible so a compromise quickly ensued to have the party at Joel and his wife Julie’s Carmel, Indiana residence.

Invited to the Super Sunday XLVI party were 22 hospital staff, volunteers, former patients and their families, plus a few friends and Sharpe – a total of 45 in all. Guests arrived an hour before the game, introductions were made and plates filled in time for the 6:30 p.m. kickoff.

The game was in full swing and Joel, Julie and their guests were enjoying the Indianapolis-hosted game when they noticed their 10-year-old daughter Reagan and some of the other children were also making friends. Reagan was chatting about dolls with a former patient of the Children’s Hospital, a nine-year-old named Emily.

When the kids began playing a game Joel and Julie excused themselves from their guests and found Emily’s parents. It was then that the Markland’s learned that one year earlier Emily had been diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer. Her parents shared that prior to her devastating diagnosis Emily had been active as an elementary school cheerleader and competitive gymnast.

While Joel had pledged the KFC prize to the hospital, he had no specific plans on how the hospital should allocate the $10,000.  While talking with Emily’s parents he learned that most of the children’s rooms in the hospital’s cancer ward were decorated in boy themes or were gender neutral. When Joel asked Emily’s mom how much it would cost to decorate a hospital room in a girl theme, she said the hospital had told her it would be $10,000. “Done,” Joel said without hesitation.

Joel and Julie quickly shared their plans with party attendee Molly Giles, the St. Vincent’s Foundation Annual Giving Coordinator (St. Vincent’s operates the Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital at St. Vincent), who literally jumped up and down at the suggestion.

If you aren’t reaching for a hanky yet, there’s more.

During the party it was learned that Emily’s tenth birthday was going to be celebrated February tenth, just a week away. Once that was known, a scramble took place for an appropriate dessert and Joel remembered a few boxes of donuts in the freezer. Candles were located, quickly inserted into the donuts and Emily was warmly serenaded with Happy Birthday To You.

The day after the party Julie contacted Giles to volunteer her and Reagan’s help in redesigning a room at the hospital. On Thursday of that week, Emily and her parents, Julie and Reagan attended the initial planning meeting with Giles, a St. Vincent’s Foundation representative, the design consultant and the architect. As of this writing, plans are to convert a current cancer floor room into a girl’s room highlighted with a cheerleading theme.

Joel believes the donation has been a win-win. “My kids will get a lot more than $10,000 worth of life lessons by being a part of something like this,” he said.

Karen Sherman, senior director of public relations for KFC, credited Joel with being “The Ultimate Wingman.” “It’s people like Joel, who serve as wingmen to their communities each and every day, who make this country so great. We are honored to have him as our winner.”

And its people like Joel’s mother-in-law Linda who reminds us all that putting others first and being in the “smiles business” makes us all winners.

Thanks for reading Agent Straight-Talk, and remember, “Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.”  Email me with topics you’d like to see in our blog at:

Find me on Twitter at Twitter@ToothTeller

Like us on Facebook at

Copyright 2012, Bloom Insurance Agency, LLC

Recent Posts

Get a free quote on a dental plan.

It's fast, easy and secure.

Buyer's Guide

4 Tips to Save the Most Money

1. Preventive Care

Make sure you’re taking advantage of regular periodic preventive checkups based on your dentist’s recommendation. Those diagnostic procedures, cleanings and scalings, etc., will prevent small problems from developing into bigger, more expensive and harder to treat problems later...

read more »

Dental Wire

Help for Young Dentists

June 4, 2020

The one constant during the COVID pandemic has been uncertainty, and that anxiety has been especially acute among dentists just beginning their careers.

“Newbie” dentists have been especially vulnerable to the shutdown due to student debt and the lack of resources available to those dentists as compared to those with returning patients and a few years of practical experience. 

What two oral health companies are doing to help.

Read More »


Site Navigation