This year’s Hometown Hero does so much for Montgomery County that many people are not aware of.
Kay Vail of Modern Woodman said she sees first hand how DeAnna Woods makes a difference in this community.
“Besides her duties at the hospital (Tyler Holmes Memorial), I see what she does for the community,” Vail said. “People come off the streets asking her to help get placement for their loved ones (drug/alcohol facility), nursing home placement requirements, help people fill out papers to get Medicaid and drug assistance.”
Woods has been a social worker for 16 years and has been an employee at Tyler Holmes Memorial for the past three years.
“As the social worker, it is my job to assist (patients and their) families in their plan of care by informing them of resources available to them in the community. I love being a medical social worker. I love helping others in need.”
Woods said childhood trauma lead in her decision to become a social worker. And from that background, she knew social work would be a way to help others.
“I wanted to help children and families process unexpected life event,” Woods said. “The social work profession can be stressful and so many suffer from burnout. I have had days of burnout but I have found exercise helps me with my self-care.”
Exercise is how she has connected more closely with the Dees family, even though she has known the family since she was a little girl.
“We lived next door to each other for several years,” Woods said. “We played, attended school and church with each other.”
When Greg Dees was diagnosed with leukemia, Woods followed Becky Dee’s Facebook updates daily.
“Even with all Greg had going on, he always sent me messages of encouragement in my weight loss progress,” Woods said. “Greg supported anyone bettering themselves.”
As part of receiving the Hometown Hero award from Modern Woodman, Woods was given a $100 check to be given to a charity of her choosing. Woods chose the iFight TeamDees Scholarship Fund.
“My decision to offer this donation was lead by my love of the family and their strength they showed during Greg’s fight,” Dees said. “They continue to honor Greg with strength and encouragement of others.”
The iFight TeamDees Scholarship was created following Greg’s passing last year.
Becky Dees said the family decided shortly after Greg’s death that they wanted to honor his memory by helping student athletes pay their expenses in college with a scholarship. Greg Dees played varsity baseball at Winona High School from 7th – 9th grades and when his dad, Johnnie Dees, started coaching at Winona Christian School, Greg went to school there to play for his dad and played in blue and gold in grades 10-12.
The family decided to give four $250 scholarships to deserving athletes each year, a male and female from each school. Senior athletes can receive an application from the guidance counselor, fill out and write an essay about why they feel they would be deserving of the scholarship. The scholarships are awarded at the athletic banquet.
“We initially started the fund with a deposit from his life insurance money and then I have had mini sessions at the beach, sunflowers, and cotton and put all that money in the scholarship fund also,” Dees said. “I sold the images on cd for $75 each and collected over $5,000 to add to the fund. My goal is to pad the account a little each year so the scholarship will still be there when Camden and other kids not yet born will receive that scholarship so Greg and his memory will continue to live on in the lives of four families each year.”
Dees said they are so thankful for this $100 donation to the iFight TeamDees Scholarship Fund. Woods also participated in many of the events hosted by the charity, including walk/runs.
“Modern Woodman chose DeAnna Woods as their Hometown Hero,” Dees said. “DeAnna chose Greg’s scholarship fund as her charity! We are thankful and blessed.”
For more information about the iFight TeamDees Scholarship, high school senior athletes should contact their guidance counselor or contact Becky Dee through her Facebook page.
See this story in the November 24, 2016 edition of The Winona Times at http://winonatimes.com/winona-slideshow-carrollton-slideshow-news/woods-named-%E2%80%98hometown-hero%E2%80%99