Thursday, April 23, 2009

Congrats and braggin on Henry's MOMMA!

This is an article That appeared in the VIRGINIA PILOT and it is all about Henry's human momma. I brag about my Bichon family, wouldn't you?

Sharon DeWitt on Page TXSU3 of April 23, 2009
Sharon DeWitt
Director delivers on keeping Meals on Wheels headed in the right direction
Throughout her adult life, Sharon Lee DeWitt, executive director of Suffolk Meals on Wheels, has held important positions in the business world. She has been the executive secretary of Deaconess Hospital’s School of Nursing in Buffalo, N.Y., an advertising representative for Suburban Circle Ultra Media in Rochester, N.Y., facility services manager at Eggleston Services in Norfolk, and owner of Paws and Claws, a manufacturer and distributor of upscale pet clothing and accessories. DeWitt’s most exciting position was in the sales department of Page Airways in Rochester, N.Y., which sold Grumman Gulfstream private jets. She often flew with a test pilot and co-pilot, and “wrote down everything they told me. “I met Elvis, President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Idi Amin, ‘the terror of Uganda,’” she said. For the past eight years, however, DeWitt has had the responsibility of assuring seniors in need in Suffolk and Isle of Wight County that two nutritious meals would be delivered to their doors daily, Monday through Friday. “Our funding for these meals comes from recipients, foundation grants, organizational grants and private donations,” she said. “Each year, funds shrink, while food and transportation costs increase. Volunteers of Suffolk Meals on Wheels, which began 22 years ago, delivered 34,000 meals to home-bound people in Suffolk and Isle of Wight in 2008. “Sometimes, our meal volunteer is the only person that a senior might see during the day,” DeWitt said. “What we do is more than delivering a meal. We also visit a friend.” DeWitt lost her husband, Maynard R. DeWitt, after a brief illness last year. She has a son, Lee DeWitt, who was adopted when he was 7. Traumatically head-injured in an automobile accident that claimed his biological father, mother, and sister, he now has two college degrees and lives in Norfolk. What has been one of the most rewarding experiences during your years with the Meals on Wheels program? Volunteers have become family. What has been the most challenging? Coordinating and recruiting enough volunteers to cover all routes, while keeping recipients happy with meal choices and delivery times, and staff who oftentimes become frustrated while trying to manage all of this and still get their deadline work completed. How do you obtain funding for the program? We have private pay recipients who pay $5/day for two meals, and grantors, who provide grant money to cover the cost of meals for those living below the poverty level. We also have a fund-raiser each March, titled “March for Meals,” which brings in private donations. How can the public help? Spread the word, especially, in Isle of Wight and Smithfield, that we are able to deliver meals to those in need in remote locations. Support us by volunteering even once per month, and of course, we always accept donations. If a snapshot was taken of you enjoying a perfect day, what would it look like? Enjoying my hot tub in the truly beautiful setting behind my home, while birds come by, horses graze on the ranch behind me, ducks swim in my pond, and my bichon, Henry, relaxes beside me. What was your childhood ambition To adopt an older child, and to somehow, leave my footsteps behind by working with community projects, and be remembered for this when I leave this world. Favorite movie “Benjamin Button.” It was well performed and very thought provoking. Books on your nightstand “90 Minutes in Heaven,” by Don Piper. It is inspiring, especially after losing my husband so quickly. Pet peeve Anyone who does not tell the truth! Pets Henry, a bichon frise rescue, and “Miss Kitty,” a Maine coon cat If I won $10 million, I would Pay off all my bills, donate to my favorite charities and take a three-week trip to Alaska. Favorite day/night out Maynard and I loved to dine at Three Guys restaurant in Franklin. They have great lasagna, and it was always a fun night out. Favorite song I love country music, but I also enjoy all others (except opera). My dad always made me listen to opera when I was young. Favorite sport and athlete NASCAR racing. Anyone but Jeff Gordon! if you could invite three famous people, living or dead, to dinner, who would they be? Ronald Reagan, the late Bobby Allison Jr. (famous race car driver), and Elvis Presley Favorite music artist Charlie Daniels and Barry Manilow – he doesn’t sing anything I don’t like. Personal motto Slow and steady wins the race! Few words of wisdom you ever received and from whom? Always remember you can achieve anything you wish in life, if you work hard, smile at everyone and always tell the truth.
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