Dentists establish foundation in honor of Palmer Burk

Dr. Daryl Yorek, a Tacoma orthodontist who also has office hours on Vashon, is working with island dentists to form a foundation in honor of Palmer Burk, a former patient of Yorek’s who died by suicide in 2012.

“Palmer was a special patient,” Yorek said. “I was shocked when he passed and wanted very much to support his family.”

The Palmer Smiles Foundation will be a collaborative effort between Yorek and island dentists Dr. Leif Rasmussen of Vashon Dental and Dr. James Cunnington of Dental Care of Vashon. The group will choose one or two children of families in need each year to receive both dental and orthodontic care free of charge, for as long as they need it.

“Palmer had such a positive effect on his peers. We thought that helping kids get the care that they otherwise might not be able to get would be a good way to continue that positive legacy,” Yorek said.

The group’s vision is that the foundation will grow, hopefully to include other businesses and services.

Fittingly, Palmer Smiles’ first patient is Palmer’s sister, Garnet Burk, who is now receiving orthodontic care from Yorek.

For more information about the Palmer Smiles program, contact Stephanie Peterson at 253-537-5565 or email

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