BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. (WBOY) — Across West Virginia this week, businesses are giving back to those who serve or have served our country as part of Freedom Day USA.
Freedom Day USA is an annual event that has been happening nationwide for the past 11 years and it prompts local businesses to give back to veterans and active military by providing a free service, product, or gift.
To contribute to this initiative, Wilson Martino Dental, the Smile Defenders and TLC Dental all decided to offer free services to those who served this year. Robin McCauley, a front desk associate at Wilson Martino Dental’s office in Bridgeport said that Freedom Day USA is “a day that we set aside here at Wilson Martino where we take care of them, showing our appreciation of the sacrifices and all they have done to take care of our country.”
Wilson Martino Dental offered free cleanings, x-rays, and same-day restorative dental work to qualifying patients who signed up for a free appointment on Monday. Services were offered across their southern locations in Bridgeport, Buckhannon, and Elkins. The Smile Defenders in Nutter Fort also extended these services to patients on Monday.
“What’s so important about it is that, you know, a lot of times our veterans and our active military may not have dental coverage and this is just a wonderful way for Wilson Martino to be able to give back,” McCauley said.
McCauley’s father is a veteran himself, so this initiative is very impactful to her on a personal level. “I love our military, I think they deserve so much more,” she said. “They protected us, they’re ready to go at an instant, or even what they’ve done in the past. That’s why I get to do what I love to do, and everybody else in this country.”
In addition to these free services, Wilson Martino Dental in Bridgeport provided gifts to the veterans and active military who stopped by. Several local businesses collaborated with this initiative to provide dental offices with an array of different items to gift to patients. “The businesses did not hesitate to give when I gave them a call,” McCauley added.
The items being given out included flowers, cookies, and even gift certificates for different food places, gas stations, and shops. Some of the participating businesses include Bonnie Belle’s Pastries, Oliverio’s Florist, Texas Roadhouse, Monro Muffler Brake & Service, Harry Green Chevrolet, as well as T&L Hot Dogs.
“It’s wonderful,” said Donald Edison, a U.S. Army veteran regarding the free services and items that he received. Edison first began receiving dental care at Wilson Martino Dental in Bridgeport when he was still in the Army National Guard, and continued receiving check-ups there when he was in the Army Reserves.
Edison enjoyed the care that he received so much during his time in the Army that he continued receiving treatment there even after he left the service. “They take care of me here so I’m pretty much satisfied with the service.”
He added that he likes to tell his friends about the Freedom Day USA program and inform them of the services that Wilson Martino Dental offers. “Since they have this special program like they have today where they help veterans out, I really appreciate it and I like coming here,” he added.
“It makes the veterans feel good, you know, that you know that there’s people that care about us. You know, a lot of veterans have been through a lot and they appreciate this,” Edison continued. “I’ve been in two hot wars and one cold one so, you know, the help that I receive now I appreciate.”
For those who missed this round of free dental services, don’t worry. The services will be offered again this upcoming Friday, Oct. 13th from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Wilson Martino’s northern locations in Fairmont and Morgantown, as well as TLC Dental in Sabraton. Throughout the week, over 200 West Virginia businesses will be offering free goods, services, meals, and discounts. A full list of the businesses participating, and what they’re offering, can be found here.