5 for Good: Franklin dentist returns smile to veteran

Pantry Staff, Neighbor with Erika Tarantel from Channel 5

At a recent visit to Mint Dental in Franklin, Jeff Bowditch expressed his deep gratitude to dentist, Dr. Olga Krikunenko.

“I can’t thank you enough for everything you’ve done,” Bowditch said.

It wasn’t that long ago that the Army veteran spent most of his time trying to hide his teeth. Old crowns had fallen off, leaving old injuries exposed.

“He was getting some care at the VA at some point, but he stopped being able to get there,” Kirkunenko said.

Bowditch met Kirkunenko after moving from Cape Cod to Bellingham to help care for his mother. He’d often stop by the nearby Franklin food pantry, a critical support for many.

Executive Director Lynn Calling explained they do much more than provide food. In Bowditch’s case, he had shared with pantry workers that his damaged teeth impacted his confidence. He told them he was having trouble finding meaningful work.

“If one of our neighbors comes in and needs services from another community organization or partner, we all talk to one another,” Calling said.

Pantry staff reached out to Kirkunenko, who had been a supporter of the nonprofit food organization since opening her dental office in Franklin in 2017.

“You can’t enjoy the food that you get from there if you don’t have strong healthy teeth,” Kirkunenko said. “I like to do what I can for them.”

Read more and see the video here.