DOIN’ GOOD: Lubbock Army veteran to receive new smile

Published: Nov. 16, 2021 at 7:43 AM CST
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KJTV) - Everyday in parts of our country, veterans are doing good in their neighborhoods from big cities to small towns. In celebration of our veterans, Lubbock oral surgeon Dr. Robert Ioppolo is doing some good of his own by giving a Lubbock Army veteran a new smile for free.

Nellie Hopson has a new reason to smile.

“It truly is the most amazing thing that ever happened and I can never say how grateful I am for this opportunity to smile again,” she said.

Dr. Ioppolo’s ‘Smiles for Soldiers’ was met with tears all around Thursday morning. Hopson will receive a full arch restoration for free.

“We are very pleased to announce that the fifth annual Smiles for Soldiers program recipient, who will receive a full arch restoration, is miss Nellie Hopson,” Dr. Ioppolo said.

Hopson served in the Women’s Army Corps, then the Army, when the two merged. Originally from Compton, California, she lives in Lubbock now and serves as a nurse on the South Plains.

“I was like, well, I know this is not going to happen to me. But it did. And I just don’t have any words for it,” she said. “It’s just the most amazing thing that’s ever happened to me in my life.”

She says the only thing that tops this is the group of people she’ll be smiling for as a nurse, and at home, as a mom, bonus mom, grandma and great grandma.

Dr. Ioppolo is a veteran himself serving nine years active duty in the Army and four years in the Reserves. He chose a full restoration arch because of the huge impact it makes on a person’s life.

It’s not just a one-man job. Other doctors will partner with Ioppolo to provide parts of the service. They will soon get to work on Hopson’s appointments, hoping to finish the full arch restoration before the new year.

One theme about Hopson that she didn’t point out, but it was obvious to anyone listening, she’s spent much of her life giving back. And one can only hope soon she’ll be doing it with an ever bigger smile on her face.

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