After “bending the truth a little about his age” Mr. Bob joined the Air Force at only 16 years old. He served in the Armed Forces from 1957-1962 as an Airplane Line Mechanic. He spent most of his time at a base in Arkansas. After leaving the military, he finished high school and then received the GI Bill to complete a two year degree in Real Estate. Also during this time, he went to pilot school and became a part time, contract pilot.
He has three children and six grandchildren. All of whom he is incredibly proud of for their various accomplishments. He wants his family to know how much he loves them and hopes they are also proud of him.
Over the years, he’s also been involved in the business community as a chamber ambassador. He gave back to the communities he lived in by serving 18 years as an Optimist Club Member – including two years as the club president. He has a soft spot for underprivileged children and has dedicated his life to helping with fundraisers to ensure the children in his community did not go without.
One particular fundraiser that sticks out in his memory is the year his Optimist Club sold fruit cakes during the holidays. The money collected would support children in need of Christmas gifts. “We started out with 480 fruit cakes and come that January, we still had 450 of them! It turns out we weren’t much of a fruit cake selling group! We ate fruit cake for weeks. We gave them away to everyone we knew. Even though we didn’t sell many, we made sure to find a way to make up the difference and give the kids what they deserved.”
Mr. Bob is now a resident at Sims VA Nursing Home. The team at Sims nominated him because he is a wonderful person and easy to love. His retirement check is sent to the nursing home each month and unfortunately there are no funds left for expenses like additional dental care. Mr. Bob would like to receive the smile makeover because, “even though I am 80 years old and semi-retired, I would still like to have the ability to communicate with people positively, optimistically.” He says winning this contest would give him the boost of confidence he needs because his teeth do not make him feel like the successful salesman he was for more than 50 years.
If you’re looking for the right man for the job – look no further than David Wright. David served in the United States Marine Corp from 1993 -1999 in the 5th Battalion 10th Marines stationed at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. He worked as a 3531 Motor Transport in an artillery unit and with the EOD. His battalion was sent to anywhere there was a need so he only stayed in the USA for about 8 months throughout his time of service. During his first year, he was sent to the war in Bosnia. He lived mostly out of a seabag during his six years and served in other countries such as: Australia, Germany, Korea and Japan.
David is a dedicated father and husband. His son is 9 years old and severely autistic. His son participates in speech and occupational therapy to improve his communication and life skills. Due to the severity of his autism, his son wears diapers and goes through shoes quickly from walking on his tip toes. David mentioned that his son is brilliant and he’s learned a great deal about autism since his son was diagnosed at two years old by a physician in Dothan. “He is so smart. It’s all in there. It’s just locked up and we are working to help him get it out.”
David works hard through his home remodeling company to provide for his family and his child’s extensive medical needs. He does not take any government assistance as he believes in working while he is able bodied and healthy enough to do so. He says one day his son may need that help and he doesn’t want to take away any funds while he’s able to work. David’s wife cares for their little boy and the couple does the best they can to enrich their child’s life. As their time is spent focusing on their son, the couple has not had a date night in several years due to how difficult it is to find childcare for their severely autistic son. The selfless love he has to his family is evident by how gently he speaks. He works hard and spends none of his money on himself.
“Sometimes my son asks me to smile. I don’t like to smile anymore but I will do it for him. He has a small vocabulary of about 20 words and he will point at me and say ‘broken.’ He doesn’t understand but of course, this hurts my feelings. He’s just saying what he sees.”
David wants to be around for a long time to make memories with his family. Right now, they do not go out in public often because he is embarrassed. Winning the smile makeover would change his life because it would provide access to the kind of dental care he needs to live a full life. With only 10 teeth left, he struggles with two main problems.The first problem is his inability to chew food. Most of the time he has to eat soft food or junk food because of his limited number of teeth. This impacts his overall nutrition and health. The second problem is that sometimes customers decide to go with a different contractor because they see his smile and assume he might be unreliable or involved with drugs. Losing income because of his looks deeply affects his ability to provide for his child. He is a reliable contractor, father and husband; a new smile would help show his customers and community just that!
Hoorah! Hoorah! Meet Ms. Sharon Alderman. Sharon served in the Army as a 68 Whiskey Combat Medic, Healthcare Instructor and Sexual Assault Victim Advocate from 2000 – 2020. For a period of time, she served as platoon sergeant and deployed four times to Iraq. One of those deployments was especially difficult because she had to leave her only 5 month old daughter for 9 months. She cared for and treated hundreds of her fellow soldiers on the frontline and in the garrison. She remembers the harsh conditions soldiers endured during the beginning of the War in Iraq. From sleeping on the ground without a tent to eating the same MRE for a week, there were few comforts provided to those serving on the front lines.
After 20 years of service and a great deal of physical pain, Sharon retired from the military. Her body felt physically broken when she left; she’s been managing the symptoms as best as possible for the last several years. She aspires to return to school and become a nurse, if her health issues allow her to do so, in order to continue caring for others. In the meantime, she’s found joy in spending time and caring for her 17 year old daughter.
“I was gone a lot – oftentimes serving in Iraq – when my daughter was little so we missed out on so much. We are making up for that lost time now.”
Sharon shared that she’s now the mom in the pick up and drop off line at school. She didn’t get to experience those memories with her daughter in elementary school and soon her daughter will be off to college. They are making the most out of every second they can together. After she graduates, Sharon plans to re-enter the workforce.
Winning this giveaway would mean a lot to Sharon. Besides the discoloration of her teeth, she has dark fillings, receding gums and ill-fitted crowns. Due to the crowns being the incorrect size, she must carry placards with her to restaurants because she feels food often gets stuck between her teeth. Sharon shared with our team that she’s never won anything and this contest would boost her self confidence and provide a healthy smile. Now that she is out of the military and looking to re-enter the workforce she is concerned about the impression she will be able to give future employers. She would love to have a beautiful smile to help make a great first impression.
A big part of being a parent is the sense of protection someone feels over their child. From the moment Raymond Ragsdale’s son was born, he not only felt that sense of obligation but also acted on it. Just two short hours after his son was born, Raymond was deployed to Jordan and then onto Syria to protect and serve. His wife was left to navigate the newborn stage alone without the help of her husband. As a new father, his heart was left in the states while his mind was focused on helping others.
Raymond joined the United States Marine Corps in early 2010. He was deployed twice and served as a Combat Engineer, Urban Breachers Instructor, and Demolition Instructor. In 2020, he was medically discharged from the military due to five traumatic brain injuries. The sustained injuries are due to experiencing thousands of loud blasts at decimals high enough to rattle your brain. Today he is left with migraines that take him out for days, as well as blackouts. Even with the residual effects of the TBIs, Raymond shared he is thankful to be home with his family – as many of his friends did not make it home from deployment and paid the ultimate price.
The blasts have impacted his jaw alignment and with the help of ECDSpa, he would likely experience less pain and migraines. Winning the giveaway and proper treatment would not only prolong not only his life but also improve his quality of life.
Today Raymond spends his time with his four year old little boy and his wife. His son is homeschooled and they have a farm in Quincy, Florida. His mother-in-law is currently undergoing cancer treatments so they visit her in South Carolina when possible making every moment count.
When you meet Todd, you can immediately tell from the way he speaks that his family means everything to him. It’s evident he is an amazing father and husband because he focuses more on his family’s needs rather than his own. That’s likely why his wife surprised him by entering him into the giveaway. In her nomination she wrote, “He has a servant’s heart and would give the shirt off his back if he needed to. He is generous and always willing to give, even if it takes from himself.”
After growing up in Clearwater, Florida, Todd served in the Army from 1987-1990 and then again from 1995 to 2000. He traveled across the world and had several different jobs while in the military. In Italy he was part of the Airborne Infantry and in Germany he served on the Long Range Surveillance team. He met his wife while they were both stationed in Germany. They later got married and settled down in Dothan, Alabama. They now have three sons ranging in age from 26 to 9.
After the Army, Todd went to work for an IT company founded by Veterans. About a decade later he and his other partners were able to purchase the business and they’ve been blessed to continue doing IT work around the Southeastern US. The company was recently recognized for their commitment to hiring Veterans.
Todd is also ingrained in his community through volunteering with his church. Before the IT company took off and while in college, Todd had a short stint in owning a restaurant. His love for good food stems from a heart of hospitality. He’s comically known as the food tzar at his church. He works behind the scenes planning and preparing meals for church events and other needs. He doesn’t have to be told. He just gets it done. The church hosts an annual weeklong event, and one day is set aside just for his fish and chips. Cooking and feeding people are his passion. According to his wife, If you’re ever invited to the Swartzman home for dinner- you will be in for a treat- wanting more but leaving satisfied.
Besides helping with sound engineering and preparing delicious meals, his other community service efforts are focused on helping individuals through the church. The needs are always different depending on the person but Todd has been able to help with construction projects, home rehabs, moving, and after surgery care just to name a few. One of the most notable ways the church helps is through their dedication to assisting individuals leaving prison to get back on their feet by connecting them with the right resources to be productive members of society. He’s donated his time, talent and resources because, “there’s all sorts of people that may or may not need help and they come into your sphere of influence.”
As his wife mentioned in his nomination, “Todd has a great smile. His whole face lights up. I even prayed my boys would have his smile when I was pregnant and thankfully they do!” But, while in the military, Todd experienced amalgam mercury fillings. These fillings need to be replaced not only due to cosmetic reasons but also for his overall health. Todd wants to take care of his health and teeth so he can be around to see his youngest son’s grandkids.