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OREM — A man in Orem will have a bright new smile this holiday season thanks to the kindness of a few strangers who recognized a need and wanted to help.
To the casual observer, what might appear to be a typical visit to the dentist is anything but that. For Kenneth Huff it's a chance at a new beginning, a chance to get a new smile thanks to some generous strangers.
For several years Huff has been living without most of his teeth because he couldn’t afford dental care.
“I've had bad teeth all my life," he said. "Usually I never went in when they broke off; I’d wait until they started hurting.”
Huff made adjustments to his life and had learned to eat without teeth.
But this is only a tiny part of Huff’s story. In July 1983 he was participating in the Provo Freedom Festival celebrations when things went terribly wrong.
“We were doing a Civil War battle re-enactment at Kiwanis park in Provo," Huff recalled. "I was on the cannon and I was loading. We'd fired off five shots and I did something wrong. I don't know what it was, but when I put the last one down it barked back on me.”
The cannon misfire took his hands, one eye and one eardrum. Due to his injuries he eventually lost sight in his other eye as well and has been unable to work. Huff said, “Basically I had to learn how to do things all over.”
Several weeks ago Scott Lazerson, a stranger to Kenny, heard about his story and wanted to help him this Christmas. Lazerson told KSL, “I couldn't believe it. This is a man who for 30 years has lost both of his arms. He's lost his vision, and now he’s lost his teeth, too. When I heard the whole thing I thought I had to call my dear friend Dr. Goodman and see what he could do.”
Goodman is Dr. Chris Goodman from Anytime Dental. When Lazerson told him about Huff’s situation, Goodman was anxious to volunteer his services.
“This story seemed like something I’d want to be a part of," Goodman said. "It was pretty easy for me to say yes.”
Goodman was touched by Huff’s difficult past, so he reached out to his friends at Nature’s Smiles Lab and found out they were also willing to provide a set of dentures. The procedure, which would typically cost Huff at least a couple thousand dollars, was given to him free of charge.
Contributing: Brooke Walker
Angie Denison is an executive producer over Special Projects at KSL TV. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.