The Face of Cassia

Gary Skramstad smiles for a picture

Bridge Fund Gives Fargo Elim Resident a Reason to Smile

Gary Skramstad loves to smile.

In early 2023, he encountered a problem: he lost his dentures. Suddenly, he did not enjoy smiling, chewing or even speaking as much.

“I felt I was limited and not wanting to talk so much or be around people so much because I was self-conscious about my teeth or lack thereof,” Gary says.

To make matters worse, Medicaid in North Dakota only provides one set of dentures every seven years.

“I shared that with the chaplains: ‘Pray that God would help me find my teeth,’” the retired pastor says. “It was miserable not having them.”

Gary did not find his teeth, but God came through for him in a different way.

A grant covered about half of the cost, while funds from the Cassia Bridge Program paid for the other half. The Bridge Program exists to support older adults who have outlived their resources through no fault of their own, and is funded entirely by the generosity of people like you!

“Lo and behold, I have teeth so I can smile instead of a big ole canyon here,” Gary says. “I’m so glad to have them. I was without them for a long, long time. I’m so grateful to the people who give to this organization.”

The generosity of people like you not only covered the financial gap – it also brought ease, comfort and joy for Gary. After being without dentures for eight or nine months, he appreciates them even more.

“It completely changes my quality of life,” he says. “I love to smile. I always try to teach people that I encounter, ‘Here, let’s smile.’ I try to be funny. It takes fewer muscles to smile than it does to frown. When people put on a smiling face, life turns out better for them.”

He has many reasons to smile, from his home at Fargo Elim to his new dentures. He is so thankful for everyone who made both possible.

“I’m glad there are folks who believe in what Cassia is standing for and doing,” Gary says. “It has made a huge difference in my life.”

Thank you for being the reason behind Gary’s restored smile and countless others like him. Your generosity truly makes a difference.