JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- John Kirschner served in the Navy. Now he'd just like to have a good set of teeth. But he's like many veterans who find that the VA won't always pay for dental.
Kirschner's wife, he says, had multiple heart attacks and open heart surgery. His bill was high because there was no insurance.
The $350,000 he paid to keep the love of his life alive, though, had to happen, he says, even though it left him without the ability to pay for his own dental care.
Kirschner is missing many teeth, and some of the ones he does have are just tiny points.
He found the Healing Hands Dental Clinic on Timuquana, but with hundreds ahead of him on the waiting list, he can't get help yet.
The help will be free that's the good part.
But he's already waited more than half a year for help.
Meanwhile, he soaks his cereal for 10 to 15 minutes just so he can manipulate the softened pieces around his mouth to eat.
Kirschner says people should not automatically categorize folks who need dental help as "dirty."
Many are just like him. They just flat out can't afford a dentist.
That's why First Coast News initiated the Apple Project to build a new, free dental clinic for people in need on the First Coast.
If you can help with a financial donation or labor and/or building supplies, please email Jeannie Blaylock at firstname.lastname@example.org
We especially need millwork, glass and glazing, fencing, concrete and drywall supplies, and building supplies, such as lumber and shovels.
We hope to break ground the first part of 2014.
First Coast News