FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) – In observance of Veterans Day, a Fayetteville dentist, who is also an Army veteran, is thanking three local veterans for their service with the gift of a smile.

Dr. Murray Reefer and his staff at Affordable Dentures and Implants are providing free dental services to these veterans who do not qualify for full VA dental benefits.

In order to qualify for full VA dental benefits, the veterans must be 100 percent disabled, have been a prisoner of war or have developed a condition during service. 

“When I was working at Walter Reed Medical Hospital, I witnessed the compassionate care provided to our Nation’s heroes,” explains Reefer, who served in the Army for more than 23 years, the last 7 years as a paratrooper dentist at Fort Bragg. “Ever since then, I’ve tried to emulate that level of care and compassion for all of my patients especially my fellow Veterans. I love the opportunity to help someone recover from a dental malady and help them restore their confidence and smile.”

Army Veteran Harold Radley will receive dental implants to secure his dentures.

“This means a lot to me,” Radley said. “Being able to eat without my teeth falling out is something I’m looking forward to. I’m also looking forward to eating peanuts. This means a lot to me seeing a Veteran helping other Veterans. This is something we couldn’t afford, and we can’t even express our appreciation enough for what he is doing.”

Radley served 23 years and his service as a paratrooper included the Vietnam War with the 101st Airborne Division and later with the 82nd Airborne Division. He retired as a G2 Sergeant Major from Fort Bragg.

Nate Gould served in the U.S. Army for 31 years. He will receive dental implants to secure a bottom denture, after years of having teeth pulled.

“Being in the Military, they don’t replace anything, they just pull your teeth,” Gould said. “I can’t eat food that I normally would eat because I can’t chew. I’m looking forward to getting my new teeth so that I can finally eat again. COVID-19, in a way, helped me out a lot because I had to wear a mask, and I didn’t have to worry about smiling because I always had on a mask.”

Army Veteran Jason Williams will receive extractions and implants.

“This is a blessing,” said Williams, “I had a fall in the Military and injured my jaw and cracked my teeth. I have been trying to get this fixed for many years. I try to hide my teeth when I talk. Just the thought of being relieved of the pressure and pain that I feel is something that I am looking forward to. It will be so good to get my smile back and feel comfortable talking again.”

“It’s our way to honor them for their dedication and service to our country,” said Reefer.