Madam Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to Don Dillman's remarkable life of selfless service. Inspired by his strong Christian faith, he subordinated his personal struggle with diabetes to his singular focus on the important volunteer work he did to improve the community of Hope, Indiana. His admirable courage in the face of adversity is something special that deserves honoring today on the floor of the people's House.
Donald W. Dillman was born in Columbus, Indiana on March 8, 1940, to Shirley ``Bud'' and Jessie Cecil Anderson Dillman. He was a graduate of Hope High School, Class of 1957. On June 24, 1962, he married Rena Blake, with whom he shared and celebrated forty-five years of marriage.
The ``unofficial mayor'' of Hope, Don helped organize countless civic projects and community initiatives over the years ranging from new playground equipment for the town square to launching the Hope Chamber of Commerce. He even stepped in as an anonymous reporter covering Hope Town Council meetings for the Hope Star Journal.
Don worked for decades to improve the community, serving in important leadership positions. He served as President of Heritage of Hope for over thirty-five years. He was a founder and board member of the Hawcreek-Flatrock Endowment Fund, applying his fundraising prowess to help it grow to over $225,000. Since the early 1970s, Don led the Hope Heritage Days festival, which draws thousands to the town each fall.
Don was not just bold about fundraising for the community; he was also bold about his faith. He served as a deacon at the First Baptist Church of Hope for many years. But most of all his faith shone through his commitment to the community of Hope, Indiana despite his own physical illnesses.
Sadly, Don has passed away, but he leaves a strong legacy of personal faith and selfless service that serve as a powerful example to all who knew him. I offer my sincere condolences to his wife Rena, their sons Jon and Darrell, and two grandchildren James and Jessica.
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- April 7, 2014