Open wide: Thanking veterans through dental help

Tom Lane's lifelong mission was to help fellow veterans smile again.  Now, the Navy chaplain is doing just that through Smile Faith.

The nonprofit organization is committed to serving veterans by providing free dental care on their mobile bus and at their building in New Port Richey.

“People come to us and they are in great need. Many of them have not seen a dentist in 10 to 20 years because they cannot afford it,” Lane explained.

“Our veterans, 95 percent of them do not have dental benefits,” offered clinic administrator Tricia Sours. “We wouldn’t be free people if it wasn’t for them. We wouldn’t be able to have all the liberties that we have.” 

The sound of drills and the smell of toothpaste filled the air at one recent Smile Faith mobile stop at the American Legion post in Tampa. The mobile unit helps them bring their services to veterans who would not otherwise get them help.

“The organization is great. What they’ve done is fantastic,” one patient exclaimed.

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