Central New York, Community, Health

Pearly Whites for Veterans

By Kristen Edwards SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC NEWS) — Over 52 veterans reaped the benefits of Dr. Joan Laura’s kindness on Veteran’s Day.

In remembrance of her father who served in the Korean War and grandfather who served in World War II, she is doing her part to help veterans by offering free dental care for the day.

She said this event is close to her heart because her father taught her a lot about what it meant to be an American.

“He instilled a real sense of patriotism in all of his children, and because of it I’ve always been very patriotic. I’ve always been in support of the military and very supportive of America. I just thought of the event… I don’t know why… after he passed away,” Laura said.

She said, though small, she is doing her part as a dentist to contribute.

“Im almost embarrassed because it doesn’t seem to compare in magnitude for what they’ve given up for this country,” Laura said.

One veteran, James Corcoran, has been to the event three years in a row.

He served in the Navy during the Vietnam War as a sea plane technician.

For him, the event saves him from additional financial struggle a lack of insurance could bring.

“Without this, I’d have to pay for service [and] with my limited retirement income, that would be taxing,” Corcoran said.

Air Force veteran Rick McCallister was so impressed with the service he received that he even signed up to be a regular patient.

After flashing his new smile, McCallister said, “It’s nice to have that kind of appreciation directed toward you and offered. It makes you feel like there’s value.. it’s like paying it forward”.

For Laura, this is response is all she wanted to get out of the event.

“It is my way of saying thank for their service to this country. They have given so much; more than I could ever give. I’m not going to pick up a gun and shoot, but Iill do what I do best. I’ll do dentistry for them,” Laura said.