Stars, Stripes and Smiles: Free dental care for area veterans

TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Filling a need in the community, one filling at a time. That's the goal of Star, Stripes and Smiles for Dr. Rick Hires. He's a navy vet, and a dentist at Hires Dental.

He felt inspired to start this event ten years ago. It brings both of his passions together.

"We all really enjoy it. They're very appreciative people. They need it. We feel like we're filling a need," said Dr. Hires.

Free massages, food, giveaways and veteran services all were available while vets waited for treatment.

In the last decade, Stars, Stripes and Smiles has provided more than $200,000 in free dental treatment to more than 1,000 local veterans. Dental care can be hard to come by for some veterans through the VA.

"You have to be considered 100% disabled, have a direct injury to the mouth, and then if they are covered, logistically it can be a problem," said Erica Emery. She's the event director.

Veterans chose between a cleaning, filling or extraction, but all got a smile and a thank you.

"So valuable because I got my cavities filled and I'm just elated at the job he's doing," said Patrick Clinger. He's a Vietnam veteran that came to the event for the first time this year.

Event details:
Hires Dental Care (3951 W. Sylvania)
8 AM-3 PM *Last patient taken at 3 PM
Need your military/veteran ID
There's giveaways, veteran services, music, free food, haircuts and massages in the parking lot while veterans wait for dental care.
There is no on-site parking. You must park at the Hope United Methodist Church (4069 W. Sylvania) and ProMedica will provide a free shuttle service.