COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — Cook Dental Care in Columbus isn’t new, but the Greater Columbus Georgia Chamber of Commerce (GCGCC) honored it with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Friday, Nov. 18 to celebrate its relocation to 1190 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Its owner, dentist Dr. Cathy Cook, explained its history. The building was initially constructed in 1977 and owned by her father, Dr. Henry Cook Sr. Cathy started her dental career after leaving the military.
“And from 2004 to ’08, I was here,” she said. “Then I bought a practice, Dr. [Isaac] Hadley’s practice on North Oakley Drive, which is off of St. Mary’s. I practiced at that location until 2013. I moved that practice to Warm Springs Road, which became Cook Dental Care, and I was at the Warm Springs Road location from 2013 until about five weeks ago. And I moved back here. But I’ve been working at this location since I was eight years old.”
Cathy said her business’s current location is where she grew up and that she wanted to serve the area and make it more “present.”
“I learned how to swim right across the street,” she said. “I learned about dentistry here in this building … Now that I’ve had 25 years practicing, I want to spend the last of my years practicing in this location.”
At the ceremony, she said her relationship with the GCGCC was very close before allowing GCGCC CEO Jerald Mitchell to speak.
“I really appreciate you all being here,” Mitchell said. “This is just another one of those things that indicate South Columbus and this part of town, this part of our community is continuing to grow. Investments are continuing to be made, and we couldn’t be happier.”
Mitchell said the Chamber of Commerce receives a lot of support from Cathy, so the Chamber wants to support her and her team.
Columbus Mayor Skip Henderson said there were two reasons he had to attend the ribbon cutting.
“First of all, it’s just how much admiration and respect I have for the Cook family,” he said. “You folks have been part of the evolution of Columbus, Georgia, particularly South Columbus. And secondly, as mayor of this community, it’s exciting to see Dr. Cathy Cook go back into the location where Dr. Henry Cook was practicing … We’re excited about her focus on this area of town.”
Cathy said she had to start her speech with a focus on gratitude, especially for God’s grace. She said she could have been born to any family but was born into the Cook family, who set the bar high for her.
“When I was in high school, my father said, ‘We’re going to shoot for the moon. And if you land amongst the stars, it’ll be okay,’” she said.
Cathy spoke on the importance of timing.
“The Bible talks about time,” she said. “There’s a time for different things. And so, this is a time, this is a time for Cook Dental Care to rise. It’s a time for Cook Dental Care to step into place of sometimes healthcare inequalities. It’s a time for Cook Dental Care to set an example. It’s a time for Cook Dental Care to show up for people, the patients that other people throw away.”
Cathy said Cook Dental Care is where its roots are and that it intends to grow and be the best it can be.
“And we’re here to expand everything that we have for the betterment not just of our patients but our community,” she said. “And we hope to continuously be a beacon, because that’s who Dr. Henry Cook Sr. is.”
Cathy said Cook Dental Care’s hours are Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
“We have two providers that are working with us now,” she said. “We’re recruiting some others. We’re just grateful.”
Cathy recognized her teammates for their support, saying they enable her to be who she is.
“They are the people who have helped me to erect this and who helped me to establish this,” she said. “I am not a one-woman operation.”
She recognized others for their support before proceeding with the ribbon cutting.
After Cathy cut the ribbon, guests were treated to refreshments and tours of the building.
According to Cathy, there is a stand across the street on the Dragonfly Trail that honors her father’s accomplishments.