PHOENIX - A Valley doctor will try to give a wounded soldier his old face back with reconstructive surgery set for Thursday.
Reno Roethle was 19 years when his vehicle hit an explosive device in Afghanistan shattering half his face. "It's like reading a book, you don't realize it really happened," said Reno.
That was seven years ago, but after several surgeries his lower lip still needs some help. It's made up mostly of skin from his forearm so the color is more pale than red. And his lip is slightly misshapen which lets saliva slip out from time to time.
To bring his old smile back, an organization called RAW stepped in. RAW stands for Rebuilding America's Warriors . The group is dedicated to erasing physical battle scars through reconstructive surgery for soldiers who can't afford it.
They do it with the help of doctors willing to offer their services like Scottsdale plastic surgeon Salvatore Lettiri from Maricopa Medical Center. "We're going to do some little things like bring the tone back in his lip by using some tendons and better the color by using his gums," said Dr. Lettiri.
"It's like being born again," said Reno who will need a full day in the hospital to recover from the surgery.
But he is one step closer to seeing his old smile again.
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