BOWLING GREEN, Ohio (WTVG) -The dental office of Alexis Klassen and Associates in Bowling Green is filled with heroes this Veterans Day.
Heroes like Bob Whitman, an Army Vietnam veteran and Keborah Snyder, a former Air Force Airman both sharing their wartime photos and experiences in the waiting room.
“We’re called the one percent because only one percent serves,” said Keborah Snyder. “We serve because freedom is not free.”
Many veterans from across Northwest Ohio made their way to Dr. Klassen’s office today thanks to staff providing free dental care to anyone who served our nation.
“When I hear their stories and I hear what they’ve given for the country, it makes you want to give back,” said Dr. Alexis Klassen. “The reason I’m doing this is because they have inspired me to want to do something extraordinary for them.”
Dr. Klassen is a veteran herself, currently serving in the Navy Reserves as a Commander. This is the first year Klassen and her team have given back in Bowling Green, and they say after the reactions they’ve seen today, it won’t be the last.
“It was over a grand worth of work that I got done for free and I didn’t feel a thing, and I was in and out,” said veteran Ryan Young.
“When they offered this to me I cried because it’s just the kindest gesture I have ever been apart of,” said Keborah Snyder.
Dr. Klassen and her AKA dental staff plan to continue to serve veterans at no cost on a larger scale next year on Veterans Day.
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At Dr. Alexis Klassen’s dental office, military roots run deep.
“I have many family members who have served, who are currently serving,” Dental Assistant Jessica Bowley said.
“All the men mostly in my family have served in the U.S. Army,” Dental Assistant Olivia Markley said.
That’s why Klassen spent Veterans Day giving active and retired military members a reason to smile with free checkups.
“Today means a lot when somebody is giving back to the veterans, especially in this time,” Navy Reservist Jackson Russell said.
It’s part of a new tradition at her practice called the 1% Salute, a nod to the fact that only 1% of Americans ever serve in the U.S. military.
Dr. Alexis Klassen, Owner, Alexis Klassen & Associates : That means a lot. I mean that inspired me to look at the men and women in our service totally differently,” Klassen said.
And she’s also part of that 1%. After spending five years of active duty in the Navy, Doctor Klassen moved to the reserves where she’s currently a commander.
On a day where the community should be thanking her for her service, she’s thanking her community for theirs.
“For me to be able to say thank you in a really unique way to some of the people I served with, to people of the community, the neighbors and people I see in church or that go to school with my kids, it’s awesome.
Klassen’s dental assistants also stepped in to give back in their own way. After announcing the 1% Salute, many of her employees offered to work their shifts at no cost.
“One by one, my staff came up and said, ‘If you’re going to do that, I want to donate my hours and buy the vets electronic toothbrushes,’ or, ‘I want to donate my hours and give an extra room so we can clean eight more people’s teeth.’
Although this was the first time Doctor Klassen offered the 1% Salute, she said she plans on doing it again next Veterans Day on a much larger scale.
Veterans also received free gift bags and handmade cards from students at St. Aloysius, thanking them for their service.