Around 20,000 veterans in Texoma haven't received dental care in a long time because they don't have dental benefits and just don't have the money to pay for it.
"Some veterans are in between the income avenue between $19,000 and $35,000. That's poverty. And yes, I was in that situation a long time ago where I didn't have a service connected disability and I couldn't get services," said Joel Jimenez, the commander of the George Register North Texas Chapter of the Disabled American Veterans.
Unchecked dental problems can lead to more serious health issues. That's why Midwestern State University decided to help out Texoma veterans. Students from the Dental Hygiene Department took out their tools and provided free service to 32 veterans.
"Our students are always needing patients here in the clinic and what a better way to honor our veterans than asking them to come in for free cleaning and dental X-rays," said Kathy Hammack, the dental hygiene patient coordinator.
Even though they were giving back to our heroes this event was a learning tool for students.
Hammack says, "They had a variety of dental issues they hadn't seen before. They need to see a certain number of patients to graduate.
Many veterans say their struggles are often overlooked and what the students did spoke volumes.
Jimenez says, "When they can get in this dental chair and some of the young ladies that are working here, to just thank them. I mean they're so appreciative of that, that somebody cares about them."
Organizers say they had so many veterans interested in receiving care that they will be giving services on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of next week. Students are all booked but you can still call Kathy Hammack at 940-397-4764 in case there are any openings.