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Kevin Dill establishes fund to provide resources for dementia sufferers and veterans
Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier - 8/10/2022
Aug. 10—WATERLOO — Kevin Dill is shaping a legacy that he hopes will help and serve others. It's always been his mission, as a Marine Corps veteran, former director of Black Hawk County Veterans Affairs, and now as an advocate for Dementia Friendly Cedar Valley.
He has established the Kevin Dill Family Fund with the Waterloo Community Foundation.
"Everyone wants to leave behind a legacy that shows you mattered on this Earth," said Dill, who was diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia in 2019, a degenerative disease and progressive form of dementia.
"I watched my wife, Tammy, struggle and cry and try to find resources. I didn't want that to happen to anyone else." He is now in the "middle stages" of the disease.
"And I remember all the vets struggling to find resources and what they needed. They felt invisible," said Dill.
"So many veterans suffer from traumatic brain injuries who later develop dementia. I wanted to create something that after I'm gone that hopefully, when a veteran is diagnosed with dementia, there are resources available to help them. They need to know they matter," the Waterloo native explained.
Kevin and Tammy have devoted their time and energy to fundraising for Dementia Friendly Cedar Valley and veterans groups through golf outings, T-shirt sales and auctioning Kevin's paintings, which he creates to keep his mind focused. "Those have raised about $5,000," Dill noted.
In cooperation with Dillard's, the Dills have raised more than $70,000 so far this year.
He credits the idea to create the fund to Wendy Bowman, city of Waterloo communications director. The fund at the Waterloo Community Foundation will make collecting and distributing donations "more transparent. People want to know their money is going to the right places," he explained.
Dill serves on the action team for Dementia Friendly Cedar Valley, an organization he worked to establish in conjunction with the Northeast Iowa Area Agency on Aging. Its mission is to create a more informed, safe and respectful place for people living with dementia and their caregivers.
Among its priorities is raising awareness about dementia and educating businesses on ways to be dementia friendly. Kevin wants to get people with dementia-related diseases off the couch, out of the house and interacting with others, he said.
Funds distributed from the Kevin Dill Family Fund will benefit Dementia Friendly Cedar Valley or similar programs serving people living with dementia and their caregivers. Funds will also benefit Black Hawk County Veteran Affairs or similar organizations serving or honoring Black Hawk County Veterans such as Americans for Independent Living, Cedar Valley Honor Flights, Sullivan Brothers AMVETS post, the Veteran's Way project, or other programs associated with the Sullivan Brothers, according to the Waterloo Community Foundation.
On Oct. 8, "A Run to Remember: The Kevin Dill 5K & Fun Run" is planned on the Tech Works campus in downtown Waterloo. Funds raised will be donated to Dementia Friendly Cedar Valley, Lewy Body Dementia Association and Waterloo'sVeterans Way.
"Jessica Rucker from Main Street Waterloo and myself worked with Kevin quite a bit when he was the veterans affairs director. Mayor (Quentin) Hart and Kevin worked together as well, and it was Kevin's idea to do a 5K to bring more awareness to these issues," said Bowman. "Because we had all these connections, it became a natural fit to come together and do this event."
Main Street Waterloo is partnering with Rotary Club of the Cedar Valley to host the first annual event. It is dementia-friendly with nearby hotels planning to offer quiet space for people with dementia. There will be entertainment and food trucks.
A fundraising goal of $30,000 has been set. Individuals interested in participating in the run or sponsoring can find more information at mainstreetwaterloo.org/aruntoremember.
T-shirts can be ordered now through Aug. 31 at https://www.shirts2banners.com/kevin_dill_22/shop/home.
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