Sam Peterson’s life had been one of hard work, determination, and success. As a dedicated sales rep in California, he took pride in supporting both himself and his wife. He never imagined that his world would come crashing down at the age of 51.
First, he lost his job.
Shortly after, their home.
During this difficult time, Sam also lost almost all of his teeth.
With a job, he could have paid for the necessary dental work. But without an income, Sam was left to endure the physical and emotional pain. The loss of a full smile robbed Sam of his self-confidence. Looking back on this time in his life, he remembers, “I was in a bad place. I had a complete mental breakdown.”
The Petersons decided to seek refuge in Boise and stay with family for a while. They took a train 670 miles with nothing but two backpacks. Hopeful help wasn’t too far away, Sam’s brother turned to findhelpidaho.org, where Sam and his wife were connected to a Community Health Program for uninsured adults.
The health program, funded by United Way of Treasure Valley, was able to provide Sam with the necessary work to restore his smile and give him back his dignity. The transformation went beyond physical appearance.
Sam shared, “Before this program, I didn’t like talking to people and my self-esteem was really low. But you gave me back my smile. I can eat better now! You helped me in my time of need. I am very thankful for the opportunity you gave me.”
Recognizing the importance of mental health as well, he also received counseling for depression through the same Community Health Program, aiding in his journey to heal from the inside out. Sam says, “The counseling was fantastic. To get help with mental health and things like that helped steer me in the right direction.”
Today, Sam is working toward securing new employment--with a confident new smile.