June’s Volunteer of the Month: Jerry Horn
Volunteer of the Month
When Jerry’s wife Debbie was diagnosed with primary progressive aphasia (PPA) in 2014, he sought to learn as much about the disease as possible. In 2016, while attending a dementia conference, he was asked by another attendee if he had heard of any local FTD support groups. Since the nearest one at the time was located six hours away in Atlanta, Jerry sought help from AFTD to establish a support group in southern Alabama.
Five years after starting that support group, Jerry plays a critical role in both leading the group, and making sure there are other groups and resources available all across Alabama. Jerry reflected, “Initially, my intent was to establish an FTD support group that I could attend with others for support. I had no thoughts of facilitating the group. However, as I became more involved with AFTD, I saw the immense good that this organization is doing through the efforts of a small but dedicated staff, and the hundreds of volunteers who share a passion for educating and advocating for an end to FTD.”
At the beginning of his wife’s journey with FTD, Jerry felt isolated and overwhelmed, which is one of the reasons he now feels such strong dedication to helping others on the FTD journey. “Showing FTD caregivers that they are not alone in this difficult journey makes the work worthwhile. Following the lead of my mentor, who was a prominent Alzheimer’s advocate, I feel compelled to share the knowledge that I have gained, both through caring for my wife and through my affiliation with AFTD.”
In addition to being a dedicated support group volunteer, Jerry is a longtime Food for Thought host. He’s also participated in AFTD’s annual With Love campaign and the Hot Shot Challenge, and has organized and hosted a Meet & Greet. In December 2019, Jerry took on the role of Ambassador, AFTD’s volunteer leadership position. Ambassadors act as local AFTD representatives in their communities, raising awareness through professional outreach and educating key stakeholders on FTD and AFTD. Over the last two-and-a-half years, Jerry has made invaluable connections with healthcare providers, care facilities, caregivers and non-profits in his area, and has established himself as a strong voice and advocate for those in Alabama who are affected by FTD.
Everyone at AFTD is so grateful to Jerry for his service and commitment to making a difference for those affected by FTD. If Jerry has inspired you, keep reading below to learn about opportunities to take action and volunteer in Alabama and beyond!
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