‘It blew me away:’ 77-year-old NKY grandfather gifted new smile thanks to anonymous donor

The $8,000 procedure will give the man a new smile as he looks to be more involved with his grandson, whose father died last year.
Updated: Mar. 26, 2021 at 4:57 PM EDT
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KENTON COUNTY, Ky. (FOX19) - Good news recently came to a Northern Kentucky man after an anonymous benefactor offered to pay for his hefty dental procedure.

Office staff at Independence Family Dentistry say the gesture for the man who couldn’t afford to pay the bill himself was an act of pure kindness.

Jim Penick will soon be the recipient of a new smile, something he didn’t believe was possible weeks ago when he came to the practice to get an estimate on fixing his teeth.

“When I left here, I thought, ‘How can I cut this back where I could afford it?’” Penick recalled. “I’m 77 years old. I still work. I drive a truck. I’ve been laid off since December.”

Even with insurance, the procedure still costs $8,000.

“Well, they said, ‘You could get the extractions done and go without teeth for three months,’” Penick said. “Well, I thought, for $1,000 a month, I could go without teeth. I could eat a lot of soup.”

Forty-five minutes after he left, Penick got a call that changed everything.

“They called me back and said there was some lady willing to pay for everything my insurance wouldn’t pay for,” he said. “It blew me away. I didn’t know what to do or what to say. But she’s got to be such a loving kind and giving person.”

The woman who offered to pay for the procedure is a long-time patient of the practice, staff members say.

The money Penick has saved on the procedure, he says he will use visiting the 4-month-old grandson whom Penick’s son — the boy’s father — never got to meet.

The young father was in the Navy for 12 years and stationed in California when in August he died in a car crash on the way to work, Penick says. Now Penick keeps his son’s ashes around his neck.

“I know he won’t know me,” Penick said of his grandson. “But I’d like to have some pictures of him with me to carry in my wallet, like I do of my son.”

As for his anonymous benefactor, Penick says he wants her to know she has changed his life in the best way possible.

He also says he plans to pay the gesture forward for someone else one day.

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