UP CLOSE & PERSONAL WITH ALAN K. STOUT

JoLynn O’Malley is a dental hygienist with the Abington Center for Cosmetic and Family Dentistry, Clarks Summit, working with Dr. Charles Dennis. A native of Jermyn, O’Malley is a graduate of Lakeland Junior-Senior High School and later studied at Misericordia University. She received a degree in dental hygiene from Luzerne County Community College. She and her husband, Peter, live in Archbald.
Meet JoLynn O’Malley …

What led to your initial interest in becoming a dental hygienist?
Years ago, I dated someone that made fun of my teeth, and I felt so self-conscious that I went and got braces at age 20. In the midst of that, I got a job at a dental office. I started at the front desk, and the dentist would sometimes call me back to assist him, and that kind of put a little bug in my ear — that I liked doing it. So I went to hygiene school. I’m certified in anesthesia and am a public health hygienist. I’d been at two other offices previously, and I’ve been with Dr. Dennis for almost 11 years.

What do you enjoy about it the most?
I like making people feel good about themselves. Because it happened to me. When someone says, “JoLynn, you’re the best. You make me feel comfortable,” and we can change their smile and their whole outlook on life — that makes me feel good. Even if it’s one person I did that for, I did my job. Being able to work for Dr. Dennis and having the opportunity to treat patients’ needs and give them the results they are looking for makes for a very rewarding job. I enjoy treating patents individually and not making them feel like a number, and he gives me the freedom to do that. After 11 years, the patients are like family.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I love listening to music. I’m a big country fan, and I’m a Nashville person. I do a little bit of yoga, which I started recently, but other than that, it’s country music.

Who are some of your favorite artists?
Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton. And Rascal Flatts is my ultimate favorite.

Do you have any hobbies?
I hunt with my dad every year, but that’s more of a tradition. I’ve been doing it with him since I was 13, and I think it makes him happy. He has three girls, and I’m the only one that does it. (Laughs)

Favorite city?
Nashville. I’ve been there eight times. Last year, I went twice. I went for the CMA Fest in June and in October for my birthday.

Favorite place to vacation?
Nashville. (Laughs) I’ve been to Vegas, and that was fun, but Nashville would be my first choice.

Favorite thing about NEPA?
My family and my friends are here.

Favorite food?
Sushi.

All-time favorite movie?
“Dirty Dancing.”

Favorite TV show?
“Seinfeld.”

Favorite holiday?
Thanksgiving.

Favorite quote or catchphrase?
“Life is too short.” I say that a lot, and a lot more now than I used to. A lot of people that have been close to me, such as aunts and uncles, are starting to pass, and I’ve realized that if you’re not happy doing what you’re doing, you might not be here tomorrow. That’s probably why I go to Nashville as much as I do. Life is short. Try to be happy.

Guilty pleasure?
Chocolate.

Is there anything about you that might surprise even your friends?
Some people think that nothing ever bothers me, and that I have no emotion, and that I just let everything fall off my shoulders. But really, deep down, everything bothers me. I don’t show it to anyone, but behind closed doors I’m not as strong as people think I am. People think that life’s easy for me, but it really isn’t. I‘m just keep it more to myself.

Have you had a moment or time in your life that has helped define you and make you the person you are today?
The first time I went to Music City, I felt more comfortable doing things for me. It opened my eyes to letting myself be who I want to be and not worrying about how everybody else wants me to be. I always felt that I did things for everybody else to make them happy, and I always sacrificed. But those trips that I take are for me. Being there, I realized how much I really enjoy country music. I grew up with it. It was a big part of my family. But the whole environment there is just different. The vibe is different. It’s really something I love to do.

UP CLOSE & PERSONAL with ALAN K. STOUT is a regular feature in electric city, profiling people from all walks of life throughout NEPA. Reach Alan at alankstout@comcast.net.

photos by emma black

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