Diabetes Dad

It's All About Being a People Person

Taking a lesson from my brother-in-law.

Tom picBy Tom Karlya

March 2012 — I had an entire article written in my head for this month about what so many consider to be the answer for a cure and whether one will actually happen or not. As a parent we must hold on to that hope for as long as it takes. I wanted to address this in greater detail.

Then something happened.

One week prior to Christmas, my beloved brother-in-law (Jill's brother) passed away. He fought the valiant battle for a long time and suffered greatly. I would be a liar if I said that through our pain there was not some relief. But his passing is a huge loss.

Joseph William Daniel Jr. (Joel, as we called him) was a Corporal in the Marines who served his country well in Vietnam. He was a member of the Knights of Columbus, the American Legion, active in other community groups, and he lived a great life. He was the one you always wanted at a party; he made you laugh. And boy, did he make people laugh. He was a natural people person. The line at the funeral home went out the door and down the block; they closed the Long Island Expressway (the largest highway on Long Island) with three police cars to allow the police-escorted motorcade through. It was an absolutely gorgeous ceremony, from the military honors to the bagpipes, and everything else in between. It was a real tribute to him and his family.

The purpose of this article is not to only relay his life to you, as words could never really do justice to how he lived his life, but as I was preparing his eulogy (which was an honor to both write and present to a packed church), I remembered something about him that made me take pause. And I started to think about it, and the more I thought about it, the more my article for this month took shape. And it's about the donor — those who donate money to our causes for diabetes.

Those of us in the diabetes world, through so many different avenues, are constantly asking for support for the cause with which we feel most closely associated. A cure, a camp, those who can't afford supplies, and so many more aspects of our fight against diabetes — all of which are constantly in need of financial support. My brother-in-law was one of those people who always gave. In all the years we have been at this, I have to admit that he was almost always the first one with a check.

He was not a man of great means, and that in itself is a crucial component to those who donate, but he WAS one who did give, and THAT is my point.

Now, many people step up to the plate and donate large sums of money. Here, at the DRI, the list of people who donate is long. One thing I have always been proud of about the DRI is that there are many steps taken to say thank you to those who give, period. It is an across-the-board acceptance of being part of the DRI family. It's not how much you give, it's that you do.

This is a crucial point. If it is always and only about the amount of money, I would be elsewhere and so would many others. But — as they say at the Olive Garden — when you're here, you're family, and we mean that at the DRI.

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Last Modified Date: June 12, 2013

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by Brenda Bell
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