Barrington dental office gives free services to veterans for Veterans Day

BARRINGTON, Ill. (WLS) -- At Pennino Family Dentistry in Barrington, Veterans Day is special.

"If you ask our team what their favorite day of the whole year is, it's providing services for veterans. This day. It's almost tearful for us to be able to do this for people, and they are very thankful," said Dr. Douglas Pennino.

On Veterans Day, military members who served our country, like Marine veteran Sean McDonald, are getting free dental work at Pennino Family Dentistry, despite the pandemic.

"I called them and said, 'Are we delayed or cancelled because of COVID?' and they said, 'Absolutely not," recalled McDonald, a Marine sergeant who served from 1985 to 1995.

"It tells me their dedication; that no matter what, they are here to help the veterans, especially on this day, this week," he said.

Major Jen Garrett of the Michigan National Guard also received free dental work. This is her second year.

"I think it's amazing that they are giving back in this way for people who may not be able to afford to get care and taken care of, it's amazing," she said.

As a veteran, McDonald has health coverage, but not dental coverage. As soon as he heard about the Pennino family's generous offer, he signed up for dental work last year and this year.

"They're just great people, it's a great practices and service," McDonald said. "One of the nicest dental offices I've ever been to in my life."

It's not the veterans who enjoy the day. The staff at Pennino Family Dentistry is equally exuberant.

"It's so rewarding and I think as a whole, so important for all of us to give back. We all have something to give," said Maria Lehman, the office's Dental Hygiene Team Leader.

Dr. Pennino, his wife, and two sons - who are also dentists - along with the staff, volunteer their time. This year, they have worked on veterans two days, and another free day is planned for Saturday.

"I hope we can inspire everybody, maybe even dental offices to do the same thing on Veterans Day," Lehman said.

This is the fourth year the Pennino family has offered free services to celebrate Veterans Day. Overall, that's about $80,000 to $90,000 worth of dental work, according to Dr. Pennino.

"A big thank you to the veterans. The things that they have done and sacrificed for us, we can't possibly pay them back, but we'll do our part," Dr. Pennino said. "I have never served, but this is my way of serving to them."

It's serving veterans who have served our country.

"It really shows people, don't give up on society," Garrett said. "We've had a lot of negativity, but there are good people. There are good people trying to really do what they can to make an impact on their communities."
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