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Golf tournament raises funds for veterans and dementia awareness in Cedar Valley

Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier - 5/30/2024

May 30—CEDAR FALLS — When Kevin Dill was Black Hawk County Veterans Affairs director, he initiated numerous programs in the Cedar Valley that provided assistance and raised awareness of issues confronting veterans.

The Marine Corps veteran retired six years ago after being diagnosed with Lewy body dementia, a progressive and degenerative disease. Not long ago, he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.

On June 8, the third annual Kevin Dill Golf Tournament will raise funds for a host of organizations. More than 40 teams will tee off in the four-person, best-shot tournament that begins with a shotgun start at 7:30 a.m. at the Gates Park Golf Course. Registration is from 6:30 to 7:30 a.m. Fat Cup Coffee and Icon Donuts will be available during registration. Lunch for golfers will be provided by Blue Barn BBQ in Cedar Falls.

"We are entering a season where Gulf War and Post 9/11 veterans are advancing in age, and exposures we were subjected to are manifesting now in the form of Parkinson's and Lewy body dementia, as happened in my case from Camp Lejeune and five deployments overseas," said Dill.

"The golf tournament brings awareness and money to help continue programs and launch new programs in the Cedar Valley," he explained.

All proceeds will benefit dementia and Parkinson's organizations, Cedar Valley Boxing Club, Americans For Independent Living, and Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association Chapter 39-6. Contributions will be managed through the Kevin Dill Family Fund at the Waterloo Community Foundation.

The cost to participate is $412.26 per team, which includes a convenience fee charged by credit and debit card processors and paid directly to the processors.

In addition to raising funds and awareness, the golf tournament is about fun and fellowship. Dill will be joined by many of his Marine Corps buddies for the golf outing, including Brian Long, Roy Hounsome, Richard Houghtelling, Jim Pena, Thomas White, Ken Harrington, Angel Cristobal, Noel Torres and Paul Haley. Chuck Howell and Tim Taylor are sponsoring holes.

"I've known Kevin since we met in 1985 in Cairo, Egypt, where we were Marines serving at the American embassy," recalled Long, of Beverly, Massachusetts. Two years later, they ended up serving together in Moscow.

"Kevin is the type of guy who would help, regardless of who you were. He was always willing to help anyone in need, from a fellow Marine to someone at the embassy or people in the countries where we were stationed. He'd give you the shirt off his back."

Long, who is retired from his local police department, began attending Marine reunions organized by Dill about seven years ago. When Dill let his buddies know about his health condition and planned the first fundraising golf tournament, Long knew he had to be there.

"This is the third tournament for me. Kevin is an honorable guy, a family guy, and he's all about this country. He's a stand-up, compassionate guy," Long said.

Adaptive Golf Iowa will be on site to assist and educate the public about modifications that allow people with disabilities to play golf. In addition, the Dementia Simulation House from the University of Northern Iowa will have staff available to provide an opportunity for individuals to experience what dementia feels like.

Dill and his wife, Tammy, have raised thousands of dollars for dementia groups and veterans' organizations. He worked with Northeast Iowa Area Agency on Aging to create Dementia Friendly Cedar Valley. Two years ago, the Dills formed the Kevin Dill Family Fund.

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(c)2024 Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier (Waterloo, Iowa)

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