DENVER — At Denver's Inner City Health Center, getting Jeffrey Paulson in a dentist chair has been a little like pulling teeth.
"Oh boy, I'm blessed, but I'm feeling pretty anxious," Paulson said with a worried look.
His story starts three years ago, when Paulson, a veteran, wanted to pay it forward and donated to help a Denver7 Gives fund. When his scooter was later stolen during protests downtown, our viewers wanted to give him a little payback.
Not only did the donations buy a new scooter, they also paid for a move, rent for the next year, and a shopping spree to furnish his entire apartment.
But more money kept pouring into his fund. After Paulson made a comment about his teeth hurting, Denver7 reached out to Linda Olson with Inner City Health Center to help manage Paulson's dental care.
"I'm the veteran mom since my husband was a Vietnam veteran," said Olson, whose husband took part in the Veterans Outreach Program. "Jeffrey's an example of our Veterans Outreach. People don't understand that if a veteran isn't rated 100% disabled, he or she is not eligible for VA dental benefits."
Their clinic receives grants covering dental care for those who've served our country. In the office, they have photos of two veterans they helped who are now proud and comfortable with their pain-free smiles.
"We focus on the people who really need us and when they really need you, when they really appreciate you," Olson said.
Paulson said he was appreciative, but also nervous, which has kept him from going to the dentist in the past. But this time, Denver7 Gives donations are paying for most of his treatment, and he wanted to spread the word to other veterans who need help with dental care.
"So, this right here is my fourth visit here. I may have a couple more teeth pulled, see where we're at, and go from there," he said with a nervous smile. "I'm thankful to have it."
Olson said Inner City Health Center wants honorably discharged veterans who need dental care to come visit them. She said they can find ways to pay for the care.
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