Roanoke, VA - Over the past five years, the Mission of Mercy Project at the Roanoke Civic Center has provided much needed dental care for more than 5,000 patients who otherwise would have no other option available to them.
For the more than 850 people who sought out help from this years' Roanoke Mission of Mercy Project there are the same number of stories as to why these people are here in the first place.
"Very excruciating and my mouth was swollen down like I had two eggs in it," said Wood.
Korean War Vet Carl Wood's story is that while he gets his medical care from the VA that care doesn't cover dental.
Uninsured and in pain from an abscessed tooth, this mission of mercy was his only choice to get some relief.
"This is helping me out immensely because otherwise I wouldn't know what I was going to do about my jaw and $1,000," said Carl Wood.
In all more than 500 professionals and students donate their time and material to the two-day annual project. Volunteers who come from all over the Commonwealth to help people, who in many cases, are desperate enough to consider the unthinkable.
"What would I do without this? I would probably get a pair of pliers and pull it out myself," said Angela Davis, who needs a tooth extracted.
Dr. Sarah Wilson is one of those volunteers. Her reasoning for being a part of this mission is the same as most of her colleagues, which is what brings her back year after year.
"All of these people haven't been able to get regular dental care and as a result they've got really broken down teeth and they are in a lot of pain. That just really hits home when you see how many people are out there," said Wilson.
Saturday, the work will continue at the Civic Center Special Events Center - which is not open to the public as tickets were given out in advance - something to keep in mind next year if you find yourself in a situation where you need these services.