Veteran Success Stories


Adopt a Vet Dental Program Can your support really make a difference? See what these veterans say…

James Snyder, USMC, Volunteer

I am a true success story with AAVD. I am a Marine Corps Veteran and served in the 1st Marine Division in the 80’s. I had a great job in the golf industry and I also worked with the California Highway Patrol raising money for the Widows and Orphans Fund. Through that volunteerism I really understand the value of giving back. My job and my health fell apart when I was faced with a disease that affected my teeth, jaw and nerves. I was in pain everyday and my teeth were cracking so badly that most had to be removed. I was battling a vicious cycle of self medication and anger. I quit my job and moved to Reno. My doctor at the VA referred me to AAVD. I was on the wait list for 18 months and when my time came it was hard for me accept that something good was about to happen and I also had a hard time asking for charity as I had worked hard all of my life. I am so lucky to have two great dentists: Dr. Joe McElhinney and Dr. Jim Jones. They had to completely rebuild my mouth. I felt so much gratitude for the care and work that was done that I felt I needed to give back; I have volunteered for AAVD for over a year now and I truly enjoy helping other Vets who may have a hard time asking for help. The before and after photos of myself and the other Veterans who have been helped by AAVD continue to motivate me. Semper Fi.

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Damon Petro, Desert Storm era veteran

“One look at my teeth, and people wouldn’t hire me. I was embarrassed and felt so hopeless and depressed. But Dr. Tony Mattioli and Adopt a Vet changed my life. My health is better, I can laugh again, and I’m actively looking for an accounting job.”

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Charlie Clendenin, Korean War veteran

“I went more than 10 years without teeth. It made people treat me like I wasn’t smart, which really hurt my self-esteem. Now I love smiling all of the time and my health’s better because I can eat again. I am so grateful to Dr. Joe McElhinney and Adopt a Vet!”

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John Anderson, Vietnam War veteran

“I was denied care at the VA Dental Clinic even though I was eligible and I could not afford treatment at HAWC. Dr. Bob Devin, who was part of the Adopt a Vet Dental Program, took my case and had to immediately start pulling teeth. I had a very bad infection and was told that I was close to death. I have a lot to be thankful for — better health, a great smile with dentures and partials — and no pain. Dr. Devin and the Adopt a Vet Dental Program literally saved my life!”

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