Bruce is an Army veteran from Cheektowaga who was shipped out to serve in Viet Nam five days days before Christmas in 1968. He served for 18 months and spent time in Viet Nam, Fort Dix, Fort Polk and others. He served as a combat engineer. “We were under siege for 56 days at one point,” he said of this time in the service. He was awarded two service commendations.
Once out of the service, Bruce went back to his former job as an electrician and plant manager. “We made equipment for the heat shield for the space shuttle,” he said.
Bruce married and had two children. Tragically, he lost his wife, Karen, to breast cancer when his children, Josh and Amber were six- and eight-years-old. “I devoted myself to raising my children and now I have two grandchildren and another on the way.”
When asked how he got involved in the Veteran’s Day Smile Make-Over Bruce said he saw the ad on television and decided to enter. “I’d entered before and hadn’t had any luck. This time I got in just under the wire — the deadline midnight and I sent my application in at 11:56 pm.”
He wrote on his application that he hoped the “third time was the charm” and that he would be chosen for a smile make-over and he was. “Since I applied I’d lost another tooth,” he said. “I’ve been making my own teeth for a while now. I didn’t want to attend my son’s wedding with missing teeth.” Bruce brought a kit to show Dr. Westermeier how he made his own teeth. “The third time was the charm for Bruce,” Dr. Westermeier said.
“I am just so thrilled to get this work done. I can’t afford it on Social Security and I just want to have a great smile.” We will be posting photos of the before and afters of all of our Veteran’s Day Smile Make-Over winners.