Parachute dentist looks to spread love through good deed movement
Dr. Bruce Hoggan recently had a major epiphany.
“I had a little heart-to-heart with God,” Hoggan said. “I’ve been suicidal in my life a couple times being in the military, so if this ripples and serves another 10 to 20 people down the road, it keeps that person from committing suicide.”
Hoggan, a veteran of the Iraq War, is now preparing for a new challenge: helping to lift others up from the burden of the COVID-19 pandemic. Which is why, on April 10, the 43-year-old Parachute dentist is inviting the public to initiate a massive effort to pay it forward.
Hoggan will provide plastic yard flamingos that people can come pick up for free and in turn are encouraged to do a good, intentional deed for someone in mind. Once the deed is complete, the initiating party stakes the flamingo — which is adorned with a dog tag inscribed with the website missionflamingo.com — into their yard.
From there, it’s the new person’s turn to relay a good deed upon someone else.
“It is a pay-it-forward service challenge that’s going to grow love and respect in the world through acts of kindness,” Hoggan said. “I have enough customers here that are firefighters and policemen and first responders. All of them across the board say that there’s been a massive increase in suicide, depression.”
“What it comes down to is, that there’s a lack of love in the world both in what people see in themselves and going from one person to another,” he added.
But even in the midst of chaos and hardship, humankind is still capable of finding light. Hoggan even has examples of rather unassuming compassion during his days overseas.
“One of my favorite things was, I got to know some chaplain out there,” he said. “He had stuffed animals we’d hand out to families whose brothers or fathers were locked up in prison for a while. We’d give them stuffed animals and tooth brushes.”
Another one in his memory bank is actually a little more tangible. A tapestry made by an Iraqi family as a token of their appreciation hangs in Hoggan’s office.
“If they got caught making it, Al-Qaeda would just kill their entire family,” he said. “They said they were honored to make it and grateful to American soldiers. I hang that up in my office with a lot of gratitude. That’s one of my best memories from there.”
As to how Hoggan landed on pink flamingos falls on their significance. Flamingos get their color by what they eat. Hence, emotions like anger, sadness and depression were best depicted through the color pink.
So far, Hoggan has 1,280 flamingos he’s going to make available.
“I’ve got four palettes of flamingos coming,” he said.
Parachute local Lynda Prendergast, who caught wind of Hoggan’s effort through the Grand Valley Kiwanis Club, said it’s a fun way to spread a little joy amid such trying times.
“I think it’s just a great thing,” she said. “(Hoggan) sees himself as a philanthropist and a world citizen and an entrepreneur. He just thought it was a great idea, especially after the last year.”
Hoggan said the pay-it-forward effort isn’t limited to the Parachute/Battlement Mesa area. Anyone can pick up a flamingo and pass it on to anyone anywhere — even if it’s out of state.
Most of all, however, Hoggan just wants to ensure the effort lives on forever.
“I won’t let it stop, I won’t let it drag or drop,” he said. “The faster it gets out there, heck, the better.”
Anyone interested in picking up a yard flamingo and passing the good deed on can visit 68 Cardinal Way in Parachute starting at 8 a.m. April 10, in front of Rocky Mountain Combat. Hoggan will be dressed in an inflatable flamingo suit.
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