Did you know that WVMC has a Diabetes Support Group that meets monthly? Its a place to learn every detail you want about diabetes, including facts about podiatry to nutrition and even cooking classes. We cover it all. What you probably didn’t know is that it is more than a support group for diabetes. It is a support group for people. The relationships and bonds formed at these groups are inspiring and we want to share one with you.
5 years ago the director of the group, Jill Addison, met a gentleman named Leonard DeWitt. …Instantly the two hit it off and Leonard and Jill became like family.
Through the hours spent together at the support group, Leonard fascinated the members with his stories of life, his fight against diabetes, his love for the USA, and a few battle stories thrown in the mix from his times during World War II and the Korean War.
Making a long story short, Leonard DeWitt is one of the finest heroes our Nation has ever had, as shown by being decorated in both World War II and the Korean War. He received a Purple Heart and a Distinguished Service Cross – the second-highest honor a soldier can receive.
Jill set out to make this fact be known and enlisted the help of State Representative Jim Weidner’s office and Chris McLaran. First on the list was to get Leonard his Medal of Honor nomination reopened and reconsidered. After over a year of fighting and countless discussions with the Pentagon, top ranking Colonels, and many others, Governor John Kitzhaber signed the bill to urge the Pentagon and Congress to reopen Mr. DeWitt’s nomination.
Through the groups hard work in the past year and half, a non-profit organization recognizing our own Yamhill County real, everyday heroes was born and simply named “Real Heroes”. (www.real-heroes.us)
On December 7, 2014 Leonard DeWitt was honored in our community by the Real Heroes organization with a Bronze statue unveiled on the grounds of Oregon Mutual Insurance. It will forever stand in our community as a reminder of the bravery shown by Mr. DeWitt and all of the US Armed Forces that fight for our freedoms every day.
We are so proud of our very own Jill Addison and the work she has done creating support groups that bring so many people together. We can never be sure who we will meet in a day or whose life we might forever impact, but it is stories like Jill and Mr. DeWitt’s that reassures us it is the simplest of places that can build the strongest relationships.
Thank you Jill for your endless drive to bring people together.