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Hot Springs oral surgeon leads nonprofit, involved in community

It wasn’t long after Dr. Daron Praetzel moved to Hot Springs that he saw a need in the community and reacted to it.

He readily admits that his time spent in Balad, Iraq, as the only oral and maxillofacial surgeon in the region was challenging and rewarding, but he believes there is a need for his services in the Hot Springs community as well.

“There are people I see every day who have some sort of facial deformity that we could help,” said Praetzel, 46.

The “we” he speaks of is the Faces Foundation, a nonprofit organization he founded officially in 2014 to provide facial surgery and reconstruction for children and young adults with facial deformities who would otherwise not have the resources to have them corrected. The organization provides these services free of charge for low-income families’ children, youth, active military and veterans who have birth defects, facial scarring, facial abnormalities and those who have sustained war injuries. In return for the surgery and services, patients who qualify will be able to earn their surgery by “paying-it-forward,” donating their time to partnering with nonprofit organizations in the community.