Dental technician by day, Misawa mom 24/7
By Airman 1st Class Collette Brooks, 35th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published August 22, 2018
MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan -- The thought of a teeth cleaning can cause a wide array of emotions. Some individuals might think, “oh great! I love having my teeth cleaned,” while others may experience anguish or panic.
Since dental hygiene is a necessity, a Team Misawa Airman with the 35th Dental Squadron goes out of her way to ensure comfort for her patients by embodying an upbeat, positive and informative attitude.
She grins widely when calling for her next guest. While opening an assortment of dentistry tools, U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Courtney Lott, a 35th DS dental technician, creates casual conversation, leading the experience to feel more like two old friends catching up, than a required medical appointment.
Once the patient is ready, she continues setting the calming tone in the room by gently explaining each step. While her ocean-colored eyes compliment her green scrubs, her freckles continuously dance across her face with every laugh and smile.
Lott demonstrates she’s an empowered woman as a full-time, single mother to her son, Dalton Landin, as well as an Airman.
The Ohio native decided to follow in the footsteps of her mother and join the U.S. Air Force as a medical professional.
“My mother worked at Public Health for four years,” said Lott. “I love how we can compare and share the highs and lows of life. It’s comforting to know she understands what I face and conquer on a daily basis. It’s a unique bond which truly connects us.”
While Lott finds happiness in being in a similar career field as her mother, it doesn’t excuse her from challenging obstacles, which can be amplified as a single parent.
“Being a mother and a full-time Air Force member is a mix of hard and easy days,” explained Lott. “I try my best every day because I do have a little human relying on me for everything, essentially to live. Being a mother pushes me to be an ideal Airman because I know if I fail in that aspect, then, in return, fail him.”
Lott explained she feels thankful to be surrounded by a compassionate group of peers and leadership. They support her by picking up her son from the Child Development Center when she’s had to work late, to coming over in the middle of the night to watch him when she has to go into work unexpectedly.
While friends and family have been a support system for Lott, she also credits the military for her success as a parent and individual.
“Before I joined the military, I was a typical teenager,” reminisced Lott. “I didn’t always do the right thing and never had a sense of true responsibility. I have become a better and more focused parent because of the instilled, structured military lifestyle. Being in the service gave me much more than just trade skills in dentistry, it gave me and my child stability. Without the military we wouldn’t live as comfortably as we currently do.”
While Lott appreciates the benefits the military contributes to her livelihood, her co-worker and friend Staff Sgt. April Schmoe, a 35th DS dental technician, admires Lott’s hard work, dedication and attitude.
“Working alongside Airman Lott for the last three years has truly been a pleasure,” said Schmoe. “She’s transparent, honest and engaging with her patients. In many ways I look up to her as a friend and colleague. She's extremely resilient, a great mother to her son and an ideal role model and mentor to her fellow Airmen.”
These characteristic qualities discovered by Schmoe in Lott’s personality, trickled down from her role model as well.
“Staff Sgt. Barnes, my previous supervisor, had one of the biggest impacts in my life,” explained Lott. “Not only could you rely on her for anything under the sun, but she always maintained professionalism and a nonjudgmental stance. Ultimately, I want my peers to think and feel the same about me.”
Lott’s personality and characteristics aid in inspiring, supporting and liberating those around her. Despite working as a single parent and part of an ever-changing and growing Air Force, she continues to embody strength and resiliency. While patients call her outgoing, bubbly and genuine, one little boy simply calls her “mom.”
“Most importantly, I want my son to grow up and be able to confidently say mom always took care of me and did the best she could,” Lott shared as tears welled in her eyes rolling down her cheeks. "He means the world to me."