Jim came into the Victors for Veterans program not having access to dental care in seven or eight years. He only had one lower tooth, making eating very difficult as he had to position food to be on that one tooth in order to chew. The dentures he had were in poor condition, breaking and being glued. He was going to the University of Michigan Dental School to receive care but that quickly became too expensive.

When asked how he was treated here, Jim said “I’ll tell you, I look forward to coming here. I love this place, even though it’s a dentist’s office. Everyone is so nice.”

“When I started coming here I was nervous, I didn’t know what was going to happen. Now, I just feel comfortable, really comfortable. I come in here just happy as a lark. This is my happy place, I feel really good here.”

When asked about what he would say to funders/donors, James said “Keep it going. People need it, they really do. It makes me smile more.”

When asked about who or what sticks out for him in the program, he said “Toni. She is just a sweetie. She’s sweeter than a jelly donut. And the students are wonderful. They explain everything and you just feel like you can talk to them.”

“In the future, I can’t wait to look in the mirror, smile and see I have teeth. And to be able to eat better, that’s a big thing.”

George went without dental care for almost three years. He served in Korea and was sad and disappointed that he didn’t get dental care as a veteran. Especially since a lot of problems start with the teeth. He recounted a story about a friend of his in the Navy who now has life-long heart problems from untreated dental needs.

George says he likes everyone at the clinic, “Everyone here is warm and kind-spirited. I mean, who wants to go to the dentist? I would almost break a tooth to come back.”

George is looking forward to being able to chew on both sides of his mouth again. He says coming to the clinic has made him both happy and hopeful.

George said, “I am incredibly grateful”

Lawonda is a U.S. Army veteran in the Victors for Veterans Program at VINA. She had a tooth that kept breaking and she couldn’t even chew on the side with the broken tooth. She says she is so excited to simply enjoy a meal without worrying about how big the pieces are and chewing on the correct side.

Barry served in the Army for six years. He came into the program with gingivitis and some missing teeth.

Having missing teeth meant Barry could only eat on one side. Sometimes if he was eating something sharp, like a chip, it would impale his gum and cause him pain. He also would take a long time eating because of this.

“Now I can eat when my food is still warm,” he says is one of the things he is happy about.

Through the clinic, Barry got bridges to fill the gaps where was missing teeth.

Barry praised the staff and providers of the Victors for Veterans clinic, saying he felt very little discomfort during procedures. He also said, “Toni takes good care of me.”

Barry says he is glad to have teeth that he can actually eat with. He said he is very grateful and appreciative of all involved with the clinic and Victors for Veterans program.

Forrest is a Navy veteran who served in Vietnam. Forrest is looking forward to his next appointment where he gets his new dentures and can finally eat a steak without worry. He emphasized the amount of detail the students and providers put into the work and how grateful he was for everyone who donates time or money to the program.

Terry served in the Army in Germany. He needed dental care for some chipped teeth and discomfort he was experiencing. He called the VA and they led him to the Victors for Veterans program.

When he first came to the clinic, Terry was unsure of what to expect but was soon pleased with the staff and providers. He is happy the program helps his teeth and in turn his overall health. He says the program makes him feel better about himself and to have his teeth looking good again. 

When asked what he would say to donors who give to the program, he said thank you and that he appreciates them. He said the program is very good and he really hopes that it will continue.