This past June, Aspen Dental held a “National Day of Service” offering free dental services to any military veteran at various locations around Pittsburgh. VLP helped promote the event locally and was able to visit the Monroeville location, where nine veterans received services including teeth cleaning, x-rays, fillings, extractions and oral health exams that focused on any oral health concerns the veterans had.

Meet Nadine Nowlin, a U.S. Air Force veteran and a wonderful advocate for VLP. She often attends many community events on behalf of VLP, where she shares her personal story of homelessness and how our Project Journey emergency housing program was able to provide her with hope, guidance and resources for affordable housing and meaningful employment. Being in front of so many people made Nadine’s smile very important to her, but she was nervous about going to the dentist since she hadn’t been to one in some time and the cost was a big concern. When she heard of the “Day of Service,” she knew it would be the perfect opportunity to overcome her nerves.

On the day of her appointment, Nadine met with the office manager, Cindy Sheftic, and doctors Inkyu Ahn and Emily Liska to discuss her needs. After hearing her moving story, the Monroeville office decided Nadine was the perfect candidate for the “A Smile for Your Service” program, which provides free, comprehensive care to one military veteran or service member each year.

“Without having any dental coverage, I just couldn’t afford all of the services that the doctors recommended, so I cancelled my next appointment. Then, when Cindy called me and told me that they were going to cover all of the costs, I was in shock. I never thought that going to that one free day of service would have such an incredible impact on my life. It’s amazing what changing a smile can do.” – Nadine Nowlin, U.S. Air Force Veteran

Through the “A Smile for Your Service” program, Aspen Dental donated additional care to Nadine with a grand total of $3,418.35.

Aspen Dental explained that the “Day of Service” and “A Smile for Your Service” fall under Aspen Dental’s community based program entitled the Healthy Mouth Movement. Since 2014, nearly 7,000 patients, including thousands of veterans, have received free dental care through the Healthy Mouth Movement that has spanned more than 30 states and resulted in nearly $4 million dollars in free dental care and oral health education to people in need thanks to the generosity of dentists and team members from Aspen Dental practices across the U.S.

“This program is a nice way to give back to those that have given so much for our country. After hearing Nadine’s story, we wanted her to excel and be the best she could be. Why not take care of our men and women who fought for our freedom?” – Cindy Sheftic, Office Manager, Aspen Dental Monroeville

If you missed the 2015 Day of Service, don’t worry! Aspen Dental is committed to empowering veterans with a healthy smile on an annual basis. Additionally, the Mission of Mercy (MOM-n-PA) is providing a free clinic to individuals who cannot afford dental care on June 3rd and 4th, 2016, at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. More details to come soon!