Jean Corcoran: Into the hearts (and teeth) of the Vail Valley |

Jean Corcoran: Into the hearts (and teeth) of the Vail Valley

Jean Corcoran
Vail CO, Colorado

Only in a small town atmosphere would you be invited to “champion your favorite cause.” In today’s ever-changing world of development, we read and live around a lot of new and bigger building projects, more noise and traffic on I-70, and the increasing population in Eagle County. In spite of those things, I’d like to capture the essence of what attracted me to Vail 22 years ago, and what my husband and I still appreciate on a daily basis.

My husband, Dr. Paul Corcoran, has been a dentist in Vail for 28 years. He has a large and loyal local base of patients, as well as a large seasonal influx of second-home owners, tourists and emergencies referred by the hotels and the Vail Valley Medical Center. At least three times a day, Paul and I exclaim to each other, “How blessed we are!” We wake up in a beautiful place, surrounded by the majesty of the mountains and the majesty of kind friends, hard-working/fun staff members and patients, who smile even when they walk into the “drilling parlor” (as we affectionately refer to our home away from home). Our lives and our hearts are touched.

Through the years, beginning in his Vail Village office space (since converted to a $5 million condominium) and continuing in his present office in the Vail Professional Building (projected to be demolished for the future development of Ever Vail), Paul’s practice has been guided by his steady hand and his steady mission to treat patients by the golden rule. Patients trust his wisdom and skill. They appreciate his gentle manner. Hard work pays great dividends in terms of patient satisfaction. If you’re available to get someone out of pain, you do them a great service, as well as satisfying your inner soul.

After 23 years of teaching kindergarten, I joined Paul’s office staff full time in 2004. From my perch at the front desk, I have a great view of the office waiting room, which is a microcosm of all that remains of the good ole days of Vail. It’s a place to see old friends, to check in on friends’ children, to make lunch dates with friends you haven’t seen for a while, to offer your thoughts about town council issues, construction or local politics, to marvel at powder days, and to be grounded in the good things in life. As I write this, the words of Louie Armstrong’s song entitled, “What A Wonderful World,” comes to mind. Perhaps the heart of Vail’s good ole days can live on in the hearts of those we encounter on our daily journey.

In my years of teaching, I believed the adage that “Everything we needed to know we learned in kindergarten.” Although I no longer teach, I continue to add to my wisdom. While I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I need to know everything I’m learning in the dental office, I would say the personal connections and bonds of sincerely caring for other people continue to teach me to look within for the deepest satisfactions in life. The prize for being a great dentist in the valley is the satisfaction of knowing you have treated people fairly, while preserving the old Vail tenets, making the dental office a meeting place of all that is good.

Participate in The Longevity Project

The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.

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