Between the falls and fights on the ice, that’s a lot of dental work for one man to perform, but Chouinard took it all in stride with laughter.
Though his modest dental office specialized in trauma and cosmetic dentistry, Chouinard was known on the Mississippi Gulf Coast as the “celebrity dentist.”
However, Chouinard passed away Feb. 26, and his award was presented posthumously to his “soulmate and best friend” Amber Morykwas at the Top 40 Under 40 Luncheon April 7.
Chouinard was also survived by his mother, Maria Norma Roberts; brother, Paul Chouinard; step-sister, Emilia Williams; niece, Hannah Chouinard; nephews, Andrew Williams and Layton Bradley and beloved pet dog “Lola.”
Not only was he the team dentist to the Mississippi Surge hockey club, Chouinard also treated several New Orleans Saints football players, who traveled the 90 minutes from the Big Easy for his expertise in emergency dental cases.
But the Philippines-born dentist also used his celebrity status to network and mobilize for charitable events across the six coastal counties. Chouinard helped raise money for various causes, including CKC, Soles for Souls, the Gulfport Humane Society and Lynn Meadows Discovery Center for children.
Success never spoiled him, however, says friend Carrie Duncan, a meteorologist for WLOX-TV in Biloxi.
“Giving back (became) a part of his work,” she said. “Normand was truly one of the most caring people I knew.”
Volunteering and service to the community were natural extensions of his personality, said Chouinard.
“The first step to making a difference is making it within yourself,” he told the Mississippi Business Journal earlier this year. “Once you make commitments to yourself, you can commit to others. Never be afraid to throw yourself into involvement with different charitable organizations. I say volunteer when you can.”
He said his mother was his role model.
“My mother has had an incessant ability to overcome remarkable odds,” he said. “She has quite simply had a kind and giving heart to the less fortunate.”
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