Veteran Hero - People's Choice
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Bill was born July 30, 1927, in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. At 17, he enlisted in the US Army Air Corps in October 1944. While awaiting call to active duty for plot training, the war ended in Europe, greatly reducing the need for Air Force pilots, and Bill received an honorable discharge from the Army before graduating from high school. Still at war with Japan, he then enlisted in the US Navy, at 17, and entered the US Navy Electronics Training Program, the most challenging military training of WW II. After graduating from this 46 week training, he served briefly on the aircraft carrier, USS Philippine Sea. He was then reassigned to the Atlantic Fleet Training Squadron as an instructor, where for the next two years trained new Navy Pilots in the use of all electronic equipment used in Naval Aircraft, in both on-ground and in-flight training. He attended the University of Wisconsin, where he received his bachelors, masters, and doctorate in Electrical Engineering. He carries over his many years of teaching as a professor at the University of Wisconsin, Cornell University, and the State University of New York in Buffalo, into various organizations, including the Orange County Support Groups, and a caregiver support group at his church. Bill has not abandoned his passion for teaching since his retirement twenty years ago, especially in offering support to families coping with Lewy Body Dementia. He lovingly cared for his wife with Lewy Body Dementia for many years, and thus began his long association with Alzheimer’s Orange County. He became an advocate for this cause through his association with AOC and the National Lewy Body Association. Bill is in an advisory role for the LBD Association. As an avid participant in the Lewy Body Support Group, he became a subject matter expert on the disease and he freely shared all research and information he found with all who could benefit - Bill was an integral part of many education sessions and health fairs where he raised the public's awareness about this special type of dementia. Body Association. His goal has been to educate the public and the medical profession on the special need needs of persons with Lewy Body and to work closely with caregivers sharing resources, encouragement and support.
Describe how your Nominee has exceeded his or her Job Description, becoming a hero to you or others. Provide an example or as much detail as possible of the things that they do that go above and beyond their job description.
As a WWII veteran who proudly served our country, Bill is a member of the Association of Naval Aviators, where he has made a presentation, and he also had a long history of volunteering as a Docent at the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum, and at Lyon Air Museum, which houses the largest private collection of aircraft, cars and WWII memorabilia. In this setting, he serves as a docent and has led hundreds of tours, which he personalizes by sharing his own experiences in WWII. For the past several years, Alzheimer's Orange County has brought groups of people with memory loss (many of whom are vets) to the museum for tours given by Bill which are especially tailored to their needs. These particular tours have sparked many memories and produced pride and self esteem in the Alzheimer's participants who have also served our county, which has been so touching to observe. Even though his wife passed four and a half years ago, Bill is still an active participant in support groups, where he continually brings updated information from his participation in Webinar and other internet activities. He is in touch with members of the support groups by internet, phone, and sometimes a lunch meeting. Bill served on a special panel at Alzheimer’s of Orange County, with two medical doctors to address the question, “What do I wish I knew then, that I know now, about Lewy Body Dementia, as a caregiver caring for my wife?” Bill is an active member of the Freedom Committee of Orange County, FCOC. Our main reason for existence is to have veterans go the Middle School and High School classes to tell of our personal experiences in WW II, Korea, or Vietnam, as Living History. He also assisted our last Pearl Harbor Survivor, Howard Bender, in his presentation to the FCOC last December. It is this special devotion that Bill has toward seniors and caregiving families that has inspired me to nominate him for this special award.