Emotional posthumous honor for Fresno dentist

FRESNO, Calif.

With her mother Susan looking on, an emotional Aimi Kodama received a child advocacy award on behalf of her late father. Dr. Wayne Kodama was a local dentist who worked tirelessly for the less fortunate.

Aimi is a sophomore at Central High. She told those gathered at the Comprehensive Youth Services luncheon, "My father was and is the best example of what a person can do in a short time with a strong will and an open heart."

In 1998 Dr. Kodama founded the Healthy Smiles Mobile Dental Foundation and dedicated himself to helping underserved kids at Valley schools. His friends have continued with the project - ensuring Wayne Kodama will never be forgotten.

Aimi explained, "Starting up Healthy Smiles was his way of not just letting people know he cared but he was going to help anyone make things better. The children he helped every day, they smiled because he reached out to help when nobody else would."

Aimi gets her passion to help others from her father and her strength from her mother. Susan Kodama said, "It's very difficult at this time. I wish he was here to accept it himself but very honored."

Aimi Kodama said Healthy Smiles was her father's past but her future. She plans to become a dentist like her father. "I guess it helped me decide what to do with my life after what happened because i didn't know what to do but discovering what my dad's been doing I just want to honor his legacy."

Action News anchor Warren Armstrong emceed the CYS luncheon which honored five outstanding child advocates.

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