Free Dental Work for Vets

WATSONTOWN, Pa.  -- A dentist in Northumberland County is honoring veterans the best way he knows how -- offering them free dental work.

Tariq Digan of Watsontown has been feeling self-conscious about his cracked front tooth, but he doesn't have dental insurance to get it fixed. Recently his aunt heard an ad on the radio for free dental work for veterans. Digan served in the Navy for six years.

"She knew that I needed my tooth fixed and I don't have dental insurance. It's a really nice opportunity that he's doing. It's really expensive," said Digan.

This is the fourth year Dr. Carl Jenkins has offered a free day of dentistry at his office in Watsontown.

"We've done other pro-bono-type things but I thought, yeah, what a great group of people to serve. They truly are. They bless our hearts," Dr. Jenkins said.

Staff started answering the phone at 7a.m. for first-come, first-serve appointments.

"I tried like ten times because it was busy. I wasn't going to give up, keep calling till I get through," Digan said.

Dr. Jenkins says it only took 21 minutes for the schedule to fill up and this year he's seeing 14 patients.

This day was filled with cleanings, fillings, even a root canal -- all free.

"Whatever we can do in a short amount of time, whatever their greatest need is, that's what we try to provide," Dr. Jenkins said.

Bill Flynn of Montoursville served in the Navy from 1972 until 1987. He heard about the free dental day on the radio.

"I'm so glad he's doing this for me because I had a cavity and I don't have dental insurance. It's really helping me out," said Flynn.

But Jenkins, who is a veteran himself, says he is the lucky one.

"These are people who have served us, it's a pleasure to serve them."

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