Linda has devoted over 30 years advocating for low-income veterans and seniors. She worked at the University of Nevada, Reno for 10 years in a Senior Outreach Program where she discovered 60 low-income veterans living in subsidized housing in dire need of dental care. Linda soon discovered that the vast majority of our veterans (90%) do not qualify for dental care at the VA because the qualifications are so restrictive. This seriously unmet need for dental care became the driving force for Adopt a Vet Dental Program (AAVD) which Linda and her husband, Wayne, founded in April 2010.
AAVD recruits dental professionals to provide critical dental care for low-income veterans in Northern and Central Nevada. To our knowledge, there is no other program like ours in the United States that harnesses the goodwill and skills of dental professionals to help low-income veterans. AAVD received the Newman’s Own and Fisher House Award in 2014 for our innovative approach to providing dental care to low-income veterans who cannot qualify for dental care at the VA or afford to see a dentist.
This program is dedicated in memory of J.C., a veteran, who could not find affordable dental care for his decayed and abscessed teeth. He died when the infection went to his heart – he was only in his 40’s.
Demetrio (Deme) Gonzalez is a retired US Navy Senior Chief Hospital Corpsman. Deme Retired from the Navy in December of 2012 after 24 years of Honorable service. While in the Navy he was stationed on the U.S.S. Kitty Hawk and the U.S.S. Essex as well as different shore commands throughout the continental United states and Japan.
Deme has been deployed multiple times to the Middle East as an individual augmentee in Embedded Teams in support of combat operations throughout different regions. While Deployed at the same time to Afghanistan, his brother was killed by an improvised explosive device. He dedicates his time in any capacity that he can assisting Veterans in memory of his brother’s sacrifice.
He has held several positions that include the Department Head of Patient Relations, Chief Main operating Room, Senior Enlisted Advisor for the Directorate for Professional Education, Chief Dental Prosthetic Laboratory, and Exam Writer for the Hospital Corpsman Rating at Naval Medical Center, Southwest in San Diego, California. As a volunteer and then volunteer coordinator for San Diego’s Veteran Stand Down since 1993 that supports thousands of Veterans every year, he brings a vast amount of knowledge and leadership to the Adopt a Vet Dental Program.
Deme holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and Criminal Justice from the University of Texas and a Science Degree from Vincennes University. Deme is married to Jamie Gonzalez and has 4 boys and 2 girls, Damian, Caleb, Logan, Levi, Noelle and Ari.
Heather Borkowski is the Assistant Executive Director handling the day to day operations, the financials, and over-seeing the different programs within the Adopt a Vet Dental Organization. She helps coordinate all the important details with veterans and the AAVD team, ensuring that the programs run smoothly and efficiently and that the veterans receive the best of care.
Before joining AAVD, Heather was a contracted dental assistant for the Navy on Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base in Jacksonville, North Carolina and credits her experience working within the military setting as the foundation for her continued career in the dental field. During her time serving the military men and women at Camp Lejeune, she found the need to be part of a greater cause and believes that veterans deserve great, extensive care for the service they provide to our country. Upon moving to northern Nevada in 2016 Heather took a job at the Northern Nevada Correctional Center where she was in charge of running the dental clinic. After that, she also spent some time working alongside a local oral surgeon, furthering her experience in the field.
Working with veterans holds a special place in Heather’s heart. Her grandfather was a Marine stationed at El Toro Marine Corps Air Station in the 1950s, where he worked on the aircraft rescue and firefighting squad. He was very proud to be a Marine and held on to all his memories of his time in service until the day he passed in July 2013.
When Heather’s not serving our veterans, she spends time with her husband and two daughters. They spend as much time outdoors as possible, enjoying Northern Nevada.
Charlotte Worthley is the Community Dental Director for the Adopt a Vet Dental Program. She grew up in Huntsville, Alabama, where she worked in the dental field as an assistant and dental hygienist for 30 years. Charlotte moved to Sparks, NV in 2001 with her husband and 2 children. She worked at the Reno VA Dental Clinic from 2003 to 2009. This was her first experience working with veterans. While in this position she learned of the difficulty veterans experienced obtaining dental benefits. Charlotte learned of the Adopt A Vet Dental Program while working in a dental office that participated in the program. She started volunteering in August 2012 and continues to work with Adopt A Vet Dental Program assisting veterans in obtaining quality dental care.
Eduardo Martinez is a strategically minded professional with 5 years of experience in the Public Relations arena. His work history has focused on increasing awareness of veteran benefits and services through his work in the United States Senate and until recently at the Nevada Department of Veteran Services. While in the Senate, he was also the lead for Hispanic Outreach in Northern Nevada for his office where he helped craft relationships with many businesses, community groups, and resource channels. As a result of his work, he was recognized in the Nevada Latin Chamber’s Influencers Magazine in December 2018.
Eduardo is a graduate of the University of Nevada, Reno where he earned a bachelor’s in Political Science and has earned a Strategic Communications Certificate from the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). He is currently a student at Fordham’s Gabelli School of Business master’s in strategic marketing communications program.