“My wife said, ‘Don’t forget me,’” says Dr. Arthur C. Coogler about his late wife, Patricia Mogel Coogler.
One way in which Dr. Coogler chose to keep Patricia’s memory alive was by establishing scholarships for both dental assisting and dental hygiene students in her memory at Midlands Technical College. The endowed scholarship donation is one of the top-five, one-time gifts ever received from an individual in the college’s history. “I want my wife to be remembered, by name, in her career field,” says Dr. Coogler.
Patricia dedicated her career helping and caring for others, especially those in the military. During her 40-year-career as a specialty dental assistant, Patricia treated cancer, burn and cleft palate patients at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. She worked at Fort Bragg in North Carolina with prosthodontists and oral surgeons where she treated soldiers of the 82nd Airborne Division, Special Operations Command, as well as many others. After marrying Colonel Arthur Coogler, Patricia spent four years in Stuttgart and Augsburg, Germany where she cared for patients during the Persian Gulf War. In 1992, Patricia and her husband moved to Fort Jackson in Columbia where she worked with prosthodontists and periodontists.
“Not only was my wife a respected civilian dental assistant with the Army Dental Corps, she was also highly esteemed as an Army wife and active supporter of military personnel,” says Dr. Coogler.
Her commitment to her career, community service, the Army and to others in her field did not go unnoticed. She received numerous awards including the Commanders Award for Civilian Service from the Dental Activity Commander and the Commanders Award for Public Service from the Commanding General of Fort Jackson in 1998. She received the Superior Civilian Service Award, the third highest federal government civilian award, upon her retirement in 2011.
Patricia’s outstanding work and contributions to the field of dentistry will be recognized for many years to come with these special scholarships by her loving husband. Recipients of the scholarships must exhibit qualities such as compassion for patients and a cooperative attitude, dedication and commitment to the chosen program of study, and a passionate desire to be a dental health care professional. “These are the standards by which my wife lived her profession. Students should aspire to do the same.”