Orion Area Parade Group
Each year, the Orion Area Parade Group recognizes a local individual who has made selfless contributions to the Orion Area. The Parade Group reviews nominations and selects a winner. The CItizen of the Year will lead our parade on Saturday, December 7th. This year's honoree is Dan Dewey.
2018: Dawn Ames
2017: Bob Watros
2016: JoAnn Van Tassel
2015: Bob Erickson
2014: Sandy Shephard
2013: John Spokaeski
2012: Robert Hollenbeck
2011: Sue Turpen
2010: Kathy McMinn
2009: Larry Mullins
2008: Sara Van Portfliet
2007: Joe Mastromatteo
Dewey is known for his efforts over the past 13 years of delivering Starbucks coffee to chemo patients at St. Joseph Hospital and Beaumont Hospital chemo centers. In 2006 while his father was receiving chemo at the Michigan Cancer Institute Clinic at St. Joseph Pontiac, Dan offered to grab coffee for his father and some of the other patients, and that began a weekly visit to bring coffee and a smile to help distract and entertain those undergoing treatment. It was a simple act of kindness but it had a lasting effect on him as well as the many cancer patients he has met along the way. “Sometimes someone will come up to me and say ‘you don’t remember me but your brought me coffee.’”, Dan says, “that makes my day.”
Dan retired from the Technology Department at Birmingham Public Schools in 2010 and has been a lifelong resident of the Orion area, graduating from Lake Orion High School in 1965. A lifelong runner after being diagnosed with asthma as a child, Dan is proud to say he has run the 26-mile Detroit Free Press Marathon 35 times since 1980.
His story has caught the attention of many local and national news shows, a visit to the Queen Latifah show which led to him meeting and having coffee with Starbucks founder and CEO Howard Schwartz at their Seattle headquarters, and a meeting with Vice President Joe Biden in 2013 in which Biden urged him to “keep doing this as long as you can.” And he plans to.
Dan credits his mother with his spirit of giving. “My mother was a volunteer forever; never said a word,” he said. “She was the church secretary for 40 years, was never paid and never complained.” His father drove the Red Cross truck for many years too. “If I could have one wish,” he said, “I would wish my mother could be around and go with me (delivering coffee)…that would have been fun, that would have been a treat.”
Dan Dewey is an upbeat, cheerful, charming man with a quick sense of humor. He doesn’t do his Coffee Run for the notoriety or recognition but for the joy his simple act brings those who need it most. “The smiles I get are just phenomenal,” Dan says, “nothing compares to it.” As he told CEO Schwartz when asked about his story, “I bought a cup of coffee for someone who needed it, and now I’m here talking to you.” It’s been an amazing run for the shorts-clad runner who took an opportunity to do something nice for someone, and should inspire anyone to practice some random acts of kindness to make this world a better place. Look for Dan as he goes on his many runs around Orion Township.
If you would like to help finance Dan’s Coffee Run, visit his gofundme page.