Remembering Deland

It was a poignant moment this evening as I stood holding this infant girl. Her grandfather, Deland, has been gone fifteen years now. How I wish he could be holding this new life, proud of his youngest daughter’s child.
2014-08-24 Shelia, Wendell, and Deeonna (768x1024)

Baby Deeonna, her mother, Shelia, and Me.

Deland was a Vietnam Veteran who died from Agent Orange poisoning in 1999. After his death his family struggled with homelessness for fourteen years. In 2013 his widow finally began receiving her DIC (widow pension from the VA.) Today they own a beautiful home and are very proud of it. Shelia’s sister, Pam, says, “Dad earned this home for us.”

In May of 2014 I visited with my former employer, Joe Lueken, and shared a vision that had formed during the years my wife and I helped Deland’s family—a vision of how we could help fight hunger in our local community. Joe liked the idea and his company, Luekens Village Foods, became the sponsor of “Community Meats in Honor of Deland”.
Read more in this press release:

The program is incredibly successful and supported by community involvement. Tuesday, August 26, we will be processing our next 500 lb batch of ground beef. Sadly, Joe Lueken recently died. I wish he could have seen the fulfillment of my vision.

And what does this have to do with baby Deeonna? “Community Meats in Honor of Deland” is a legacy of giving that her grandfather leaves her.

1 Comment

  1. Laurel says:

    You are so kind. Your program really makes a difference. God bless you and all the people who support your wonderful work.


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