FLORENCE, Ky. (WKRC) – Two months ago, Emmanuel Evans was on his way to walk his daughter down the aisle, but he never made it.
Instead, he spent the ceremony in intensive care. He was hit by a drunk driver.
Evans knows what it’s like to be hurt. He is a 20-year veteran of the Army Special Forces who was wounded in the line of duty. But, his hardest recovery started after the crash.
“Your jaw is broke, you’ve got fractured ribs, your lips were split in half, your teeth were knocked out,” said Evans as he described his injuries.
After the crash, Evans lost most of his teeth.
“It’s so embarrassing, you know, because when you have nothing up front, you don’t have a smile, and like that’s part of your personality and once that’s gone, your personality is gone with it,” said Evans.
Now, his grin is much different. Dr. Faith Rheiner and the staff at the Dental Center of Florence completely changed his mouth.
“I can smile…again,” said Evans.
“All the upper denture we reconstructed, then we did some fillings down here on the bottom and then he has a partial down here in the back where we gave him some teeth in the back,” said Dr. Rheiner.
The office did the dental work for free as part of their “50 smiles for 50 years” campaign. Practice owners Dr. Keith Laws and Dr. Laura Herfel decided to celebrate their respective 50th birthdays by giving dental care to patients who needed it. Thirty-seven patients have been helped, totaling over $150,000.
“You know, it just meant so much to be able to have him smile again, and I hope he gets the chance to take all those pictures with his daughter and to be happy and proud,” said Dr. Rheiner.
The gift of those pearly whites is more than cosmetic.
“Dr. Rheiner gave me not only my teeth back, but she gave me my personality back too. So, I thank her and I appreciate her and I love her for that, you know?” said Evans.
Evans’ daughter did visit him in the hospital before deploying with the Air Force to Korea the next day.