9News by Jane Mo and Byron Reed
LAKEWOOD – Six veterans have new smiles because of dentists in Lakewood, who volunteered their Friday afternoons.
And although, the people cleaning and filling teeth have degrees in dental surgery, the person who started ‘Smiles for Veterans’ doesn’t have a DDS…nor any degrees for that matter.
This program started with 9-year-old Cayden Boratenski.
Last Christmas, he raised money to buy supplies for the homeless because he wanted to give back to the community.
“Gloves, hats, toiletries,” Julia Kasper, Cayden’s mom listed. “We took him to a park in Denver, and we handed them out …almost every single person in that park was a veteran.”
Cayden asked why the people he met were all veterans. His parents couldn’t answer him.
“My husband and I started talking…what can we do?” Kasper said. Kasper is a dentist at the Colorado Family Dentistry. The family decided to help with what they already knew how to do.
From Friday morning till afternoon, the family opened up their dentistry, and their employees volunteered their time and energy to help.
Each veteran’s appointment was free of charge.
“It’s just so humbling and heartening to see them at work and to see them giving back to the community,” Cri Boratenski, Cayden’s dad said.
One by one, the veterans left the place with new smiles.
“I get a chance to meet some good people and have some clean teeth now, that I haven’t had for a couple of years,” Steve Schmidt, a U.S. Air Force veteran said.
And throughout the day, Cayden watched his small act of good spark into something greater for the community.
“It makes me feel happy that they were serving our country and it makes me happy that we’re helping them,” Cayden said.
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