‘Heroes Clinic’ offers free dentistry to student veterans

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AURORA, Colo. -- On Veteran's Day, we like to think about all the great ways we can say thanks to those who served our country.  But at a new clinic in Aurora - they are quite literally putting their money where their mouth is, and giving veterans a real reason to smile.

Veterans like Micah Marmaro.  Most of us hate a trip to the dentist.  But Marmaro is getting two new crowns, and couldn't be happier.  Because the Marine Corp veteran who served in Iraq is getting his dental care for free.

“I was originally quoted $5,000-6,000 and I was faced with trying to figure out how to pay for it,” Marmaro said.  “On top of schooling and being a dad, I needed to buy a safer vehicle for the winter that was more safe, so I was faced with a bit of a dilemma, and I got an email from the student veterans group saying they were offering free dental care,” Marmaro added.

It's a brand new, first-of-its-kind program at the University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine at the Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora. They call it the “Heroes Clinic.”

“I am just truly grateful for what (the student veterans) have given, they've sacrificed so much, and so to be able to do something to make their lives better, is really just a blessing and an honor,” said Jackie Snapp, a CU dental student who works in the Heroes Clinic.

The clinic just opened in August with a million dollar gift from Delta Dental.  It provides free services to student veterans at CU Denver and Anschutz.  They've already treated 80 students like Micah, who has spent the years since he served his country juggling studying finance at CU Denver with raising two young girls.

“As a father, now a single father, I haven't been as focused on my own needs as such,” Marmaro said.

Now he has something to smile about: a good looking smile - thanks to a new program, designed to give back to those who've given so much.

“This was not only timely, but miraculous,” Marmaro said.

The Heroes Clinic expects to see about 100 student veterans by Thanksgiving - which is about ten percent of the 1,000 student veterans at CU Denver and Anschutz.