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He is 28 years old and already has lived a long, long life.
The young man's caseworker has known his family for years and recalls that his father years ago killed two elderly people during a robbery and then held his own family hostage during a police standoff.
Nonetheless, the young man grew up to be a responsible adult. He married, had a child and worked to support his family.
Four years ago, tragedy struck when the man's wife died in a car crash. At 28, he now has the sole responsibility for raising his 9-year-old son.
For a time, the caseworker was really worried about the young dad.
"It has been a hard road to travel," she said. "He has been through a deep depression and has struggled emotionally, physically and financially."
For a while, he just didn't care. He wasn't able to even muster the energy to hold down a job — very unlike him. It broke the caseworker's heart, to be honest.
"He is the nicest young man," she said. "And he is so good looking."
During those rough years, the man neglected his health, and his teeth, already in need of care, have deteriorated.
"He's embarrassed to smile, and it makes it difficult to look for work at places where he has to face the public," she said. He certainly is capable of finding a decent job, and she knows he is ready to do this.
At this point, the teeth are so infected and are causing so much pain that getting them extracted and replaced with dentures is his best option. He has a medical card that will pay for the extractions, but the program doesn't pay for dentures.
Right now his only income is about $250 a month in odd jobs and $379 in food stamp assistance, not enough to pay the cost of the dentures, especially when his priority is his son.
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