For 22 years, Amelia dentist Neil Blackburn has been offering a Valentine gift to area residents in need. He opens his dental office to those who cannot afford to have urgent dental needs treated for a day of free emergency dental service and cleanings.
“I got started doing this 22 years ago when a dentist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, launched the program nationwide,” said Blackburn. “Somewhere the program got lost, but I just kept doing it.”
On Friday, Feb. 13 his office, located on East Main Street in Amelia, was filled with patients seeking his help for a variety of dental issues.
According to an office worker, 33 area people were treated by Blackburn for pressing dental issues such as extractions, denture repair, cleanings and fillings, X-Rays, antibiotics and advice.
"I do this just as a way to help people," said Blackburn. "We try to do it around Valentines Day each year because that was the way the program was initially set up. I'm just trying to help out the best that I can."
Patients were seen on a first-come, first-served basis and the waiting room was filled as they waited for several hours to see Blackburn.