BOWLING GREEN, Ohio — Doctors Phipps, Levin, Hebeka, & Associates, Ltd. Dentistry in Bowling Green is offering its annual free oral care for all veterans event.
"Stars, Stripes and Smiles" starts Friday, May 12, at 8 a.m. Registration will run from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. and Vietnam veteran and long-time event supporter Bob Clark will be there to help any veteran who needs some guidance.
"These guys do a good job and I still have all my teeth," Clark said.
Clark is all smiles when talking about the annual Veterans Appreciation Day event. He said it's a breeze because all veterans get free care.
"So many times we forget our veterans and they go unnoticed," Clark said. "It's really humbling to have somebody take care of us like this."
Whether it be a cleaning, a filling or a tooth extraction, it doesn't matter; it's all on the house.
This all makes Dr. Ryan Phipps beam, he started offering free dental checkups to veterans in Toledo in 2012.
He said in that first year, more than 100 veterans showed up and he realized just how big the need was for veterans and dental care. He kept the event going at the Bowling Green office in 2015.
Phipps has noticed over the years, the number of attendees had dwindled down to about 30 veterans who come each year. But the lower attendance numbers don't stop him from offering the event.
"I know that there's a lot more veterans out there who have significant needs and we just want to help as many people as possible," Phipps said. "If we have to stay all day, we'll be happy to do so."
So while it may be like pulling teeth to get some folks to go to the dentist, Dr. Jenna Shevlin said it's definitely worth it for all veterans to come by.
"It's an amazing experience. Last year was my first year doing it in the office here and it's something I hope we continue for years and years to come," Shevlin said.
Both dentists explained how it's sometimes hard for veterans - and really anyone - to come in for a checkup because of fear. But Clark said this office makes everyone feel comfortable.
"There are different procedures than we ever thought when we were kids. And the technology today! If you take care of your teeth, your teeth really impact your health a lot," Clark said. "You know, God only gave us one body, let's take care of it all."
Overall, really there's no pressure.
"If you just want to come out and share your support, I think it's a great environment and I think it's a great activity that we're doing. So, feel free to just come out and be part of the community," Shelvin said.
Phipps said in addition to free dental care, there will also be someone from Veteran Services, as well as a few nurses to go over general health checks while veterans wait for their dental check-ups.
Doctors Phipps, Levin, Hebeka & Associates is located at 970 W. Wooster St., Rm 125, within the Wood County Hospital near Jaks Pharmacy. For more info or any questions, call 419-352-2569.