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Local oral surgeon receives Lifetime Achievement award

Roni Lockhart - (March 21, 2017)

The newly established LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD for the SC oral surgeons is now known as the ROBERT L. (BOB) COLES LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD, and it will be hung in the SCDA State building

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Dr. Robert "Bob" Coles

Dr. Bob Coles accepts award presented by the president of SCSOMS, Dr. Jeff Wallen of Myrtle Beach.

Editors Note: Roni Lockhart has been a member of Dr. Coles staff for 45 years. The following is a tribute in the words of a dedicated staff member and a loving friend.




This award was presented by the SCSOMS (SC Society of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons).  It is the first time ever LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD for the SC oral surgeons.  It is now known as the ROBERT L. (BOB) COLES LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD, and it will be hung in the SCDA State building.  When other surgeons receive the award, their names will be placed on a plaque underneath this award.

Here is his story. Read it and you will know why this Lifetime Achievement Award was awarded to Dr. Bob Coles!



SCSOMS (SC Society of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons).  

Dr. Coles has given many, many hours to both the SCSOMS and AAOMS.  Most of that time has been “behind the scenes.” I may have overlooked it, but I do not see his work concerning writing the history of the SCSOMS listed in his CV.  I know for a fact that he spent numerous hours working on, writing, editing, and getting it ready for presentation to the society. He has such a heart for our society and cares about all of its work.  He is particularly concerned and wants the newer OMS professionals to become actively involved.

AAOMS (American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery)

I could not begin to count the hours Dr. Coles has spent working with AAOMS by attending meetings, being a delegate, serving on committees, speaking and instructing at seminars, and proctoring other speakers.

Because I served with him one the DAANCE (Dental Anesthesia Assistants National Certification Examination) Committee from its beginning, I can attest to the fact that he “cares” about the program and has worked what seemed to be “tireless hours” (but they were indeed exhausting) to help make the program successful.  On the committee, he helped write both the curriculum and the national certification exam.  (If you have never worked on writing a certification exam you have missed an exhausting experience requiring an unbelievable amount of research and study time).  At this time there are 5,500 Certified Dental Anesthesia Assistants and 1,400 new applicants in January.   But, once again, I believe he did it because he “cares” about the profession and making it as great as possible which includes educating the allied staff to the highest standard possible.



He has served as both an ACLS Instructor and an AHA Regional Faculty Member which, once again, requires hours given outside of the office for reviewing American Heart Association’s Training Center programs, monitoring courses and instructors, and teaching at least 2 courses/ year.  He became an instructor in 1980 and Regional Faculty member in 1998.  That means that at a MINIMUM (which he has done many more that the minimum) he has taught 74 Advance Cardiovascular Life Support classes. Why does he spend all of this time doing so much more than is necessary….because he cares!


To that end, he also serves on the board of the Greenville County Dental Assistants Association as well as the Greenville Tech Dental Assistants program.  The assistants intern through our office as a major part of their clinical experience.  He frequently gives lectures and presentations to both groups.  This year, he also was asked to mentor and allow a Charter High School student to shadow him and intern in our office for an entire semester for her senior project.  

He works with the Greenville Free Clinic. He performs cases at the clinic occasionally but does cases in our office quite a few times/month so the patients can have sedation as needed.  I think he has a very caring spirit in that he feels that these patients deserve the same quality care as the patients who are able to pay.

His colleagues apparently appreciate and respect him. There is hardly a day that goes by that a dentist, physician, or other OMS does not call him for advice or to see a patient who is experiencing a difficult issue.


His staff all love and admire him beyond belief.  That is proven by the fact we WON’T leave!  Although a very few have had to leave for various reasons, for the most part he cant’ get rid of us!  I have been with him 45 years, the others, nearly 30 years. Please note that I said we work “with” him.  When he first started our practice he made it clear that it is not “his practice”, but it is “our practice>” What a blessing to be a part of our practice instead of just feeling like “the help.”  How does an employer keep staff for that long—he “cares” about us at all times- not just 9-5.

In working with him, we have witnessed not only his expertise as a surgeon, but also his expertise in communicating with the patients and families.  It is said that “music soothes the savage beast.”  Although we do not have too many beastly patients (you know there are a few) Dr. C. has a special way of soothing their apprehensions.  It must be due to his musical talents.  In case you didn’t know he was a member of a Doo-Whop group called “The Mists.”  From what I hear, they were quite popular in Pittsburgh back in the day.

I asked other members of our staff to describe Dr. C.  100% of the time the first word that consistently came up was “caring.”  Likewise, I asked quite a few longstanding patients to describe him-100% say “caring”. Let me expound on that …100% of the time!


It is obvious that Dr.C. is adored by his family.  Likewise, the love that he demonstrates toward them is undeniable.  

I have had the privilege of watching his 3 children grow up and of working with each of them. Talk about kids loving their daddy—they DO!  

I know for a fact that if Dr. Coles were being asked about his achievements as an OMS, he would say they are directly related to the love and support he receives from his “baby doll”  (he refers to her this way to us…everyday), Pat.  The love that they demonstrate to and for each other is definitely an inspiration and a great lifetime achievement.


Finally (I know you are glad to hear that!), I cannot leave out the fact that he is a great man of faith.  He is absolutely the most consistent Christian I have ever met. He is not ever “preachy”, but he is always an example in his daily walk, and I have watched him walk for a lot of days!


All in all, again as a person who has worked with him since the beginning of our private practice, I can truly say Dr. Coles is an outstanding surgeon, a great teacher, an exceptional leader, and a wonderful friend.  As you will note, all through this letter, “caring “is the word consistently used to describe this great man.  I don’t know what is considered in determining qualifications for a Lifetime Achievement Award, but I do know that Dr. Coles lifetime is one of what I would consider multiple achievements.  An award well deserved for a man who cares so much!♣


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