Honoring a Voice that was Silenced too Soon. 11

“The Gift of Music” Creates a Lasting Legacy for Dustin J. Wells.

Like so many others, family is the epicenter of Dr. Dennis Wells’ life. But when parents lose a child, and siblings their oldest brother, that epicenter is challenged in ways few can comprehend.

That’s where Wells and his family found themselves in 2005, when their oldest son and big brother, Dustin Jack Wells, died in a car accident.

There was never a doubt that the family – including wife Doris and sons Landon (now 13) and Luke (now 12) – would go on. The question was “how?”

For that answer, Wells, a prominent Brentwood aesthetic dentist for 35 years, turned to song. Dustin was a music major at Belmont University and the family found that to cope with their grief they would help others discover the joy that Dustin found in music.

The result was The Dustin J. Wells Foundation and a partnership with Nashville’s W.O. Smith Music School.

This enduring relationship is keeping his son’s memory and honor alive by giving back to less fortunate music students through the Foundation’s signature event, the annual The Gift of Music concert. “Some of my close friends were diligently searching for ways to help me cope with my loss,” says Wells. “And generous people responded with acts of kindness, including over $50,000 in donations toward a fund set up in Dustin’s memory.”

Another organization instrumental in the formation of The Dustin J. Wells Foundation and W.O. Smith Music School partnership was the Crown Council, specifically his good friends and council members Greg and Steve Anderson. The Crown Council is a prestigious national alliance of leading-edge dentists who are strongly committed to promoting oral health, fighting oral cancer, and serving their communities through charitable work. Dr. Wells has been a member of the invitation-only Crown Council for many years. “The Crown Council’s annual meeting was scheduled to be in Nashville within a year of Dustin’s death,” says Dr. Wells. “Calling on some of our dear friends and patients to perform, we filled the Wildhorse Saloon for an emotional night of music and celebration, and the Gift of Music event was born.”

He adds that “it was only fitting” that the first audience for the newly established Gift of Music event was the Crown Council. The Council will be returning to Nashville for the tenth annual show on February 2. “This group has been a great source of healing for me,” says Wells. “They are a true blessing and their friendship has been a true gift.

“Dustin’s memory is being kept alive and this event allows for his life to continue to touch others. It was from the strength and support of this inner circle of caring people that the Dustin J. Wells Foundation was born. The Gift of Music event honors Dustin, as every dollar collected is used for the sole purpose of reaching out to others in the music community.”