Local dentist offering free dental care for vets on Veterans Day

on Saturday, November 11, 2017

It's the oath retired Chief Warrant Officer Josue Calderon-Melendez took more than 20 years ago.

"I will defend my flag," said Calderon-Melendez. "I will defend my country for God country and family."

Calderon-Melendez is fourth generation military man and the patriarch of a family of five, but like many veterans, he can't get dental coverage through the Department of Veterans Affairs.

"To get a cleaning, even with three insurances, it's an outrageous expense and not everyone qualifies," said Calderon-Melendez.

RELATED | Veterans Day 2017: Tampa Bay events and freebies

The VA telling ABC Action News there are specific eligibility requirements for dental benefits.  Josue, who was wounded overseas, does not qualify. 

He needed thousands of dollars for dental procedures to alleviate pain.  Money he says he just didn't have.  When Dr. Sarah Jockin of Lake Park Dental found that out, she said she had to do something.

"We noticed that there were a lot of people like him. We wanted to give back a little bit," said Dr. Jockin. "The least we could do is give a day."

Not only has Dr. Jockin been helping Josue, but now, she is hosting a Free Dentistry Day at her office in Lutz on Saturday, November 11, 2017 in honor of Veteran's Day.

Registration begins at 7:00 a.m. and veterans are encouraged to come early.

Josue said it's events like these and people like Dr. Jockin who he can't thank enough.

"I am forever grateful that she embraced me like a family member,not only in words, but in action," said Calderon-Melendez.

"Just the gratitude is such a payback," said Dr. Jockin. "It's lovely to see him smile, chew and be healthy!"

Lake Park Dental is located at 19151 N Dale Mabry Hwy, Lutz.

For more information, visit Lake Park Dental

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