‘It’s just been hard on the inside more for me than the outside, not because of how people see me, but how I feel about myself.’
A victim of a gay hate crime has received a six-figure oral reconstruction surgery for free after nine of his teeth were knocked out.
In October 2012, during gay pride week in Austin, Texas, Andrew Oppelman and Nick Soret were severely beaten while waiting for a slice of pizza at a food truck.
The alleged attacker, Lambert Borgardt accused Soret of hitting on him and was caught by a security camera striking Oppelman in the face, completely knocking out nine of his teeth and leaving him in serious need of oral surgery.
Bogardt fled the scene but was later indicted with third degree felony assault.
Dr Gary Cash, a local Austin dentist, read the dreadful story on a news website, and was left deeply disturbed.
Speaking to KVUE.com, he said: ‘I contacted the reporter and said “I’d like to meet this person, and I can maybe help them”.
‘People have been so warm and welcoming to me here, I figured that’s not the way someone should be treated from out of town.’
For the past year and a half, Dr. Cash has been providing Oppelman with up to six figures worth of oral reconstruction procedures completely free of charge.
The dentist wanted to give back to the city of Austin and the people who have been ‘so warm and welcoming’ to his practice.
Oppelman couldn’t wait to see his new smile and leave this hurtful experience behind: ‘As soon as they were in and he gave me the first look, it seemed like a river just washed over all my insecurities and washed over all my hurt and a lot of the damage that has been done inside and out,’ he said.
The gay hate crime victim is now healing physically and emotionally.
He posted on his Facebook: ‘As of right now I have had thousands of dollars in dental work done and a lot more to come. My spirit has been broken but because of the support I am on the mend.’
To watch the full story, click here.