Meet our Hometown Hero: Dr. Jason Baker

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By Rita L. Sherwood

If you’re like me, and don’t really enjoy going into Walmart, you might just have met this amazing, but homeless, man who works in the pickup lot. Follow the orange signs, and you definitely can’t miss him with his gigantic smile and positive attitude complete with his usual, “Thank you and have a blessed day.” Rodney Montgomery is his name, or as we all call him, Mr. Rodney.

One day not too long ago, Katie Love was picking up her groceries in the Walmart pickup lot, and she and Rodney started talking, like they always did. When Rodney discovered that Katie worked for a local dentist, he smiled and said, “That’s great, I probably need to come see you.” Katie had noticed before the decaying dental condition of his teeth, to be more specific, his few remaining broken teeth, and when she returned to her office at Miramar Beach Dental and Orthodontics, she told her boss, Dr. Baker, all about it.

Originally, she thought she could raise money through donations to help Rodney improve his teeth and/or get dentures. But when Dr. Baker heard about it, he asked Katie to bring him in. After meeting Rodney, Dr. Baker realized he not only had a bad infection, but he needed to have his few remaining teeth pulled. The next step was to insert implants, and then snap in some dentures. All in all, this process took several months and totaled around $30,000, although Dr. Baker provided it at no cost.

Katie says, “Rodney is such a kind soul who blesses everyone with his infectious personality on a daily basis, and now it’s his turn to be blessed, and now he can share his beautiful smile with all of Destin.”

Rodney is truly happy and feels like a whole new person. He has so much faith in God, is happy to be alive and feels truly blessed. He says, “Katie is an earthly angel sent straight from Heaven, and it’s hard to put into words how I feel about my experience with her and Dr. Baker. God always has a plan, and puts certain people in your life at certain times. Both were a God send and it melts my heart when I think about all they’ve done for me, and especially now with my whole new white beautiful smile!”

Dr. Baker says, “It felt great to help Rodney get the smile he has always wanted! He told me once that he couldn’t ever remember a time when he had a full set of teeth. But nonetheless, none of the challenges he experienced in his life ever prevented him from always being happy and appreciative every time he came in for an appointment. I’m so happy we could help him in this way.”

And that’s how the story goes – another Hometown Hero for our small community of Destin. We’re so lucky to live in such a gracious, giving area, and as the holidays are approaching and this crazy year is winding down, it’s nice to focus on a positive story of thoughtfulness and charity. Thank you Katie and Dr. Baker of Miramar Beach Dental and Orthodontics.