Wounded Veterans Relief Fund gives vets a chance at a full smile

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(WINK News0

Patrick F. is a veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“I was a senior in high school when September 11 happened so I felt a call to serve my country and I joined right after I graduated,” he said.

Today, he’s settled in Naples where Wounded Veterans Relief Fund gave him a chance at a full smile.

“Today is going to be an awesome day because I’m getting all this done and I’m very thankful for it,” he said.

Doctor Andrew Haidet and his entire team did everything for a handful of veterans, from cleanings to extractions and crowns, for free.

“I needed a lot of dental work done and I couldn’t afford it because the VA doesn’t pay for dental care,” he said.

James Champion, a Vietnam veteran, knew that and continued to serve his country. Now, he helps make sure other veterans receive the proper care.

“[It’s] important to get them smiling again and being able to feel better about themselves,” said Champion.

He said a lot of times, veterans don’t have the time to get all of their medical situations straightened out in between deployments.

“The VA will do that, but it may be a four-month wait,” said Champion. “They’ll have two or three tours and if they get into the reserves and their MOS comes out, they can go right back to Iraq or Afghanistan again.”

After several pulled teeth, infection and other work done, “You won’t be able to tell because I have a full smile still,” said Patrick.

All of Friday’s appointments cost over $33,000 in dental care service.

If you’d like to donate, you can visit the Wounded Veterans Relief Fund online.

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