2012 -12th Tribute, Truth Continues, Cassandra’s Truth, and Emmett’s Life

Captain Kevin Drue Donnelly:

“12th Year Tribute, Truth Continues, Cassandra’s Truth, and Emmett’s Life”

August 5, 2012

 

By Monette Benoit, Kevin=s Sister

Copyright 2012

 

“Who, What, When, Where, How, Why, Captain Kevin’s Truth, Part Three”

 

Twelve years ago, prior to midnight, alone, August 4th, 2000, my youngest brother, Captain Kevin Drue Donnelly departed this world.  Kevin left a wide path to document the Truth.

He educated, advocated, taught, and assisted thousands of individuals in the early stages of HCV, hepatitis C, and related issues affecting the patient, their spouses and partners; parents; children; and siblings, like me.

“Big boys don’t cry. Hey, I’m not ashamed to say a tear is in my eye

Because another tear will take its place before I die.”  Extreme

I am simply ‘a sister’.  That’s it.

As I write this 12-Year Tribute, Olympians gathered in London sharing the talents and strengths of international athletes who are now uniting together.

As I write this 12-Year Tribute to my brother, Captain Kevin,

I am mourning the recent death of my father, Emmett J. Donnelly, a veteran, a medic, social worker, counselor, historian, teacher, ham radio operator, avid-life enthusiast, and another veteran who also received the diagnosis of HCV, hep C at the age of 76.

Oh, Emmett wanted to live.

Emmett “really” wanted to live.  He died in a manner that I would not wish upon any person.  Dad just did not “want to go,” and Emmett fought death until he was 90 pounds, unable to walk, unable to eat, blind, and his body was wracked with diseases.

Emmett continued to say each day, “I have things I still want to do.  Really.  And when I walk down the hall I can start doing the things that are still important to me.  Busy.  Busy. Busy. That’s me.”

I watched this winding road and listened for months.

Then I watched the surgically inserted infusion feeding tube, multiple surgeries, multiple tubes, IVs and twenty-five-plus hyperbaric, HBO, treatments in multiple hospitals.

The newspaper printed a Father’s Day Tribute to Emmett J. Donnelly, June 2012.

I have included a link here: http://captainkevindonnelly.com/?page_id=544

Does Emmett’s death certificate say “HCV?”

He was treated for hep C since his diagnosis.

Was it noted on his death certificate?

Nope.

 Captain Kevin Drue Donnelly, his son (my brother) and Emmett J. Donnelly, veteran, (father to Kevin and to me) each have death certificates where their HCV is not listed.

Another prediction of Kevin’s.

Another example where true numbers are not accurately documented.  Fact.

A full moon is now in the evening sky.

This month, August 2012, is a Blue Moon month.

A Blue Moon month is one where there is a full moon twice in the same month.

Hence, the term “once in a blue moon.”

The next Blue Moon month will occur in 2017.

In, 2017 I will be listening too, as I promised my youngest brother. I will.

 I have listened.  Oh, I have listened.  After listening, I asked questions.

I have listened for long stretches – so long that individuals ask if I am still on the phone – or still interested – because I have been quiet for extended periods of time.

Each time, in person, and on the phone, I reply, “I’m here.  I’m listening as Kevin asked.” 

Kevin D. Donnelly, the Phi Theta Kappa, National Honor Society, member, was at his best helping veterans and their families cope with the challenges of hospice, caregiving, and hep C treatment.

 Yet this soldier who helped thousands of people around the world, and helped to organize many hep C support groups, and who helped veterans to learn how to accurately document their symptoms and treatments to receive military benefits – this soldier died alone, suddenly, in the residence, late in the evening hours of Friday, August 4th, 2000.

“Well, some say life will beat you down, break your heart, steal your crown.

So I’ve started out for God knows where.  I guess I’ll know when I get there.”  Tom Petty

Then, August 5th, 2000, I asked additional questions and listened when Kevin’s widow, Justina [Tina] Velocci Lomonte Donnelly, a nurse and a veteran first began her untruths.

 Then, I listened to Kevin’s three stepchildren, Michelle, Denise, and Rosanna (now adults, now with children of their own), and I listened to a handful who shared inaccurate information and inaccurate facts.

 “Dogs bark at what they don’t understand.”  Heraclitus, Greek Philosopher

 

I would never be on this path had Captain Kevin Drue Donnelly been buried with the correct rank on his tombstone.

I would never be on this path had Kevin been waked with respect.

I would never be on this path had Kevin’s parents been treated with respect.  Three simple facts.

 

“Love changes everything, how you lay there, how you die.

Yes, love, love changes everything. It brings you glory, it brings you shame …

Nothing in the world will ever be the same.”  Andrew Lloyd Weber

This 12th year tribute is not about what others and their actions – to include lack thereof – actions created right before Kevin’s death – or what happened immediately after Kevin’s death, though I initiated and finalized all preparations to have the American flag placed on Captain Kevin’s casket in Dalton Funeral Home (and documented), fact, when Kevin’s grieving widow, a veteran, did not request the American flag for Captain Kevin Donnelly’s casket.  Yet there are facts that need to be included to remain truthful and factual.

The night of Kevin’s death, just hours prior to his death, Captain Kevin placed his army uniform, dress blues with captain rank, near the kitchen, on a hanger over the door.

 And how was that detail missed to not have the American flag on his casket?

 

Kevin Drue Donnelly served 22 years in the military.

 How did Captain Kevin receive an incorrect tombstone with inaccurate military rank of second lieutenant placed on his Calverton tombstone?

 

His forms were filled out by his wife, Tina, who had filed for divorce – the divorce Mrs. Donnelly was seeking had a hearing that would have been heard, Suffolk County, the day Captain Kevin Donnelly’s casket was lowered into the ground, August 9, 2000, without any widow.  Everyone went to “Angelas” to have lunch, traveling in large, shiny, black limousines.

 I went to the office, requested a map for his burial, then stood next to the hole in the ground, in the hot August sun, and waited for the union diggers to come back from lunch.

 

When the dark purple 18-wheeler refrigerated truck appeared, I was weak at the knees.

I insisted that the supervisor in the clean, white T-shirt get his “ass out of the truck,” and stand over by brother’s grave.

I requested that the Columbian diggers “bury him with respect,” and they did.

They did.  They did bury Captain Kevin with respect.  Head down, I slowly walked away.

 And the information for the incorrect tombstone was a form filled out by a veteran, Mrs. Justine Donnelly?  Really?  Yes.  Again, facts.

   “By all means, marry.  If you get a good wife, you’ll become happy.

If you get a bad one, you’ll become a philosopher.”  Socrates

 

Yet I digress. The incorrect tombstone was placed on Captain Kevin’s grave after his widow did not include the American flag on Kevin’s casket for the small wake that had been scheduled.

 

When I learned that the flag would not be included, I followed on one of many promises to Kevin.  He had me promise this one.  He knew.  Fact.

I phoned the Dalton Funeral Home and I told them I would arrive and would not be quiet about this fact until the flag covered his casket.

 I had the flag placed on Kevin’s casket under one condition, per the Dalton’s Funeral Home employee.

 The condition for the American flag from Kevin’s widow, his second wife of seven years – after 20+ years of service to Kevin’s country?

 

No obituary would or could be permitted or printed by me or anyone for Captain Kevin Drue Donnelly in any newspaper in return for the American flag on Kevin’s casket, per his widow.

 And. There. It. Is.  Truth.

I had to promise this to the Dalton Funeral Home employee for Kevin’s casket to have the American flag, my verbal promise, which was then relayed to the widow, prior to her agreeing to have the flag over the casket.  Fact.

 Nice.  I listened there, too.

 “What they do?  They smile in your face. Smiling faces sometimes tell lies.

… Smiling faces – they smile in your face.”  The O’Jays

 Calverton National Cemetery confirmed that Kevin’s wife, Justina Velocci Lomonte Donnelly, nurse and Army veteran, filled out the paperwork.

 Calverton employees were astonished to learn Captain Kevin’s military rank was incorrect after the tombstone was placed over his grave.

 I phoned the cemetery after a picture was sent to me with Kevin’s first tombstone.

 My father initiated that learning curve.  Dad created that initial documentation, to create truth from untruth, when Dad had a simple request – a simple father’s request.

 Dad, ever the historian and grieving father who could not attend his son’s funeral due to Dad’s prostate cancer surgery, wanted to know ‘order of his name, words and dates’ on Kevin’s tombstone.  Dad wanted the details until he could travel and see Kevin’s grave himself.

 (Velocci-s and Lomonte-s – i.e., stepchildren, who attended Kevin’s small funeral (two hours wake in the afternoon; two hours in the evening, August 8, 2000) pulled me aside to ask:  “Why is your family really not here?”

 I replied each time, “My dad really has cancer, and my family had just flown in to be with Dad.  Dad really cannot travel due to the recent surgery.  Really.”  Then I would be asked again why my family ‘really is not here’ – really.)  Fact.

 With all the questions I had asked pre-funeral, during the funeral and post-funeral, and all I had listened to, I had not asked about the wording on Kevin’s tombstone.

I promised Dad I would get the Dad’s simple request answered.

Simple, right?  Nope.

I asked friends for a picture of Kevin’s tombstone for our father.

 ———–When the picture was sent to me, I could not have been more stunned seeing Second Lieutenant in front of Kevin’s name rather than the correct rank of captain.

 That was the day everything changed in my world.

 I sat on the floor, just like Kevin had done.  He told me in detail how he focused.

 I gathered all the paperwork, and began to focus – to really focus, as Kevin had done.

 I found documentation that Kevin had asked me to keep.

Some details were sweet, some brought a smile.  Some facts were bittersweet.

 Kevin shared the military expression, “Keep everything except the toilet paper and even that if you can,” with me.  He had taken that expression seriously, as do many veterans.

 I found a recommendation for:

“Award of the Army Achievement Medal, 567th Medical Detachment, 1 August 1981 to 31 July 1982:

 Staff Sergeant Kevin D. Donnelly distinguished himself by meritorious achievement while serving as NCOIC of the 567th Medical Detachment during the period 1 August 1981 to 31 July 1982.  Immediately upon assignment, he set to the task of upgrading unit records and files, initiating and setting up training plans and programs, and revising the unit’s mobilization file.

 He was extremely instrumental in ensuring that all training was carried out in a competent and professional manner, resulting in a well trained, responsive unit.

 Sergeant Donnelly’s strong leadership example, commendable achievements and deep sense of devotion to duty have brought credit on himself, the Noncommissioned Officer Corps, and the United States Army Reserve.”  Anthony M. Giambalve, Col. DC, USAR, Acting Commander, 567th Med Det., Approved, Commander, 808th Station Hospital, 101 Oak Street, Hempstead, NY  11553”

  — As I read the “Recommendation For Award” I realized Kevin’s body already had the hep c virus, gifted by the Army while he was stationed in Germany.

 Kevin had documented his unit’s hep hospital treatment with Kevin’s military records, vaccinations, facts, adenovirus, and speaking to other members in his military division while stationed in Germany.

 Far too high were the numbers in 1997 that documented many were dead, seriously ill and/or diagnosed with HCV, hepatitis C.  Fact.

 Once I learned that Kevin’s rank was incorrect on his tombstone, I ramped up my listening, as Kevin had predicted I would do.  Fact.

 Additionally, I did get a second tombstone with the accurate ‘Captain’ rank placed on his grave  – at taxpayer’s expense. 

Tax payers paid for the second tombstone.  Fact.

 This is not an easy process to replace a tombstone already positioned within a military graveyard.  Yet Calverton employees were astonished and led me through the process.

 I phoned Atlanta, Georgia, to discuss accurate military details after Captain’s Kevin’s rank on all paperwork for the Dalton Funeral Home and Calverton military cemetery was nullified as a second lieutenant.  Fact.

 Paperwork denying Captain Kevin his rank of ‘Major’ in the Army arrived the day of Kevin’s wake, Tuesday, August 8, 2000.  I cannot make this up.  Fact.

 Kevin’s widow shared this ‘major’ detail, then pointed to the “official” envelope positioned in a vertical position, next to a pack of cigarettes, within her purse lying on the floor.  Fact.

 “The time is always right to do what is right.”  Martin Luther King, Jr.

 The Truth.  Yes, that’s truth.

 “And, after all, what is a lie?  Tis but the truth in masquerade.”  Lord Byron, Don Juan

 Why?  I gave him my Word.

 Kevin handwrote a letter to the animal shelter (same Bidowee Shelter where his widow took his five cats – many were kittens brought home by Lomonte stepchildren and Kevin’s wife when Tina worked the ER shift as a nurse for Massapequa Hospital).

 Kevin’s 1987 letter (prior to marriage to Justine Velocci Lomonte): 

“Dear Animal Shelter: Hi, my name is Dusty.  I’m a small, gray and white, striped cat.  I look like a typical cat, but am writing to you to thank you and all your staff for being kind to me while I was a temporary guest there at your shelter.

 While I was there, you people – especially the cat girl who fed me – were kind and even petted (sic) me when I meowed.

 I know I was cranky at first – But I’m sure you understand why.

I now live with a really neat family.  I have two friends (cats) and one is my best friend already (Scott).  We play and run all day long and sometimes the people get mad.  Like when I broke the antique – But they still love me and feed me Baby Food or really good cat food.

 I’m now Big and Strong (14 weeks old), and plan on having a life in the sun – on the window ledge (of course).

 The only Bad thing is that they won’t let me go out and play outside, and they took me to get shots – ouch.

 But, I will never forget that you people helped me get to, and through this very difficult time in my kittenhood.

 I do not plan on ever having kittens because of what may happen to them – (I heard terrible rumors about a Back Room where cats sleep forever).

 I guess I just wanted you to know that someone does appreciate what you do and when that next kitten or puppy meows or barks and just asks for a hug or to be pet, please think of me, and take the time that you did with me – because it made all the difference in my world.

 Again, thank you for your kindness and your time and for not charging me rent.

Sincerely,  Dusty” (Kevin signed cat’s name and drew two cat prints)

  — That letter did not surprise anyone in my family.  We each received a copy of his handwritten letter.  That was our Kevin expressing his thanks ‘his’ way.

 Kevin was a good writer; often he sent notes and cards with his custom artwork.

 Birthdays were national holidays in our family. The cards he sent me usually contained custom drawings, were charming and reflected his humor.

 “This is what Eugene and I did over the 4th of July.  It snowed (underlined) five inches in New Hampshire and then onto the Green Mountains, Vermont.

 “We climbed Mt. Washington, 6,288 feet, New Hampshire (Highest park in the northeast.  Highest recorded wind in the world was recorded on the top of Mt. Wash., 231 mph.”

 Kevin then drew (in pen) pictures of he and his friend climbing ‘mountains’ with backpacks containing comical quotes and expressions, as he and his friend hung off the sides of mountains.  Multiple cards he sent me end with hand-drawn pictures of his two cats, Sammy and Dusty, and “Me – Hanging in there, Love, Kevin Drue.”

 October 1989, I received a postcard from Palisades Interstate Park Commission of NY and NJ Bear Mountain State Park, NY:  “Eugene and I went bicycling here one day last month.”

 A full, detailed letter from my brother, November 1989, typed on a new computer includes: “Last weekend Eugene and I entered a family bike day at the beach.  They closed all the roads to the beach, and 20,000 people showed up…  We road 43 miles from Jones Beach to Robert Moses, then back to Jones Beach, and down to Merrick Road, and back to Jones Beach (a good bike afternoon).  We rode on the roads all the way and even rode across the bridges – Great Ride!”

 “When you got nothing, you got nothing to lose. How does it feel to be on your own? With no direction home. Like a complete unknown.  Like a rolling stone.”  Bob Dylan

 I can just hear Nora Ephron, with her dry wit, say right here,

“Good thing you weren’t told anything awful like there was a gun, and it could have been a triple homicide, and he was waiting for others, right?”

 — And here is the place where I would have to say meekly,

“Well, in fact, Kevin’s parents, his siblings and their spouses were each told exactly that. 

Tina told Kevin’s parents and his family exactly those words the night we learned Kevin had died, August 5th, 2000.”

I heard those words, 8/5/00, from eldest stepdaughter.

 My nephews asked, “How could anyone be so mean to Grand-Ma and Grand-Dad?”

I answered softly, “When adults are angry they can make very bad choices.” 

Then I set about listening and asking pointed questions to law enforcement before we learned, after the funeral (where this was a huge discussion) that there was, in fact, no extra bullet.

 This “was complete bullshit” (and other expletives), and the detective and others wanted to know who the hell told me, so he/they could give them a piece of his mind.

Even he asked, “And your parents were told this?  How awful!” 

Me, “Yes, sir.  Truth.”

 Oh, to have been truthful there.  I have always wanted to be respectful.

Too bad that shoe doesn’t point both ways, eh?

I spoke about truth during the May 2003, “Hep C Movement For Awareness March on Washington and Weekend of Awareness Rally.”

 “The future depends on what we do in the present.”  Mahatma Gandhi

 I was given an opportunity to speak.  I accepted to speak as “Kevin’s Sister” and later gave Captain Kevin’s only eulogy – 2 years and 9 months after his death, May 23, 2003, Memorial Day Weekend, Washington D.C.

 The Truth.  Yes, truth.

The event was professionally preserved on film, too.

 “One thing I got to tell you is that you got to be free; come together right now over me.

Hold you in his arms, yeah, you can feel his disease.

Come together right now, over me.  Come together, yeah!”  The Beatles

 During Captain Kevin’s eulogy I shared the timeless Irish expression: Throw your hat over the wall.

 

During Kevin’s eulogy I shared:

“When the British invaded Ireland, they built high walls to separate the people, the communities, and the families that lived in Ireland.  Then, the Irish were proud people, like Captain Kevin.

The Irish had few belongings to their name, but the men always had one hat.

After the British built the walls, the Irish would go to the man-made wall.

And if one of the men really wanted something, to make a point, a true commitment, a true gesture, they would throw their one and only hat over the wall.

Once the hat was over the wall, and that wall was too high to see over, the Irish man had to go get that hat.

I know Kevin threw his hat over the wall, the wall of hepatitis C, and the wall to the military.

Captain Kevin was willing to go over the wall for what he believed in and for the issues that he was proud to represent – Kevin’s values and the values of Kevin’s country.

 

Captain Kevin Drue Donnelly threw his hat over the wall, and then Kevin just had to go get that durn hat many, many times.

August 4th, 2000, Kevin had no hat to throw over the wall during the Friday evening after he was court evicted out of the residence – More Truth.

The truth is documented factually and accurately in updates about Kevin’s path once he received his hep C diagnosis.

When Captain Kevin died, he died alone.

I now remind you here tonight that you and I each have a hat.

Each of us sees walls every day.

 When you see a wall that seems insurmountable and/or is unbelievably hard, please think of my brother Kevin Drue Donnelly, and just throw your hat over the wall.

 

You will have to go for ‘it’ – your hat.  I know I did.

Without realizing it, I threw my hat over the wall for Kevin, then for hepatitis C.

I had not intended to throw my hat.

Yet the inaccurate statements – plural – that were trying to become ‘truth’ forced me to ask questions.  Then I listened.  I listened a lot – as I promised Kevin, per Kevin’s repeated requests.  He asked over and over, “If you can, please listen.  If you can … If you can …”

Had the proper respect been given to my deceased brother and to my parents, I would not be standing here – now, in Washington D.C. at this international rally or speaking in his name – or giving his only eulogy.

I would not have had to throw my hat over the wall for Kevin and then for hep C.

I would have peacefully, graciously accepted the truth, and I would have moved on.

Yet my standing here tonight, 2 years and 9 months after his death, is proof that I had to go get a hat …

Kevin, you threw your hat high.

You threw it overhand, high into the air, and I salute you, Kevin.  I know Mom and Dad wish they could be here to honor you for all you shared, all of your accomplishments.

Yet, Kevin, I have to share that we, your family, still miss the boy, then young man, who went to all the Cub Scout meetings earning every badge, working to Eagle Scout.

We miss the Kevin who became a medic in the army, and excelled in all you did.

We miss the Kevin who laughed and shared many of your new challenges, your pole vaulting in our side-yard, all your sports, winter mountain climbing – the many challenges you tackled and won.

August 5th, 2000, the Saturday night we were told you died, when I spoke to Dad, recuperating from prostate cancer surgery, by phone, Dad said,

‘Well, now Kevin is at peace.  He’s at peace perhaps for the first time in a long time.’ …

I know you are helping others to toss their hats over the wall, Kevin.

 

I miss the brother who hugged me; the brother who stood by my side when I needed you.

I also miss the brother who helped me decide whether to stay with a boyfriend, or not.

He’d write a pro and con list with me.

Then Kevin would write at the end:  Put this where the sun don’t shine.

 

I miss the brother who laughed and shared with me, and I miss my youngest brother who in the end, died alone.

But you, Kevin, you did live the life you chose, helping others.

You, Kevin, did get to choose, and that last evening, August 4th, 2000, with no hat to toss, you went home.

Please help me rebuild his library and his research for hep C, for science and for veterans, the military.

That was the one request that was most important to Kevin.

Stunned, I have to share:  Sadly, all his predictions came true.

Some of us became stronger as a result of your requests, Kevin.

 

I know I learned how to lean into the wind, respectfully asking in your name, over and over, listening, listening.

Your predictions have already begun to reveal themselves as truth, and I share here tonight. …”  Saturday, May 23, 2003, Memorial Day Weekend, Washington D.C.

Why?  I gave him my Word.

“Judge success by what you had to give up to get it.”  Dalai Lama

 

“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent,

but the one most responsive to change.”  Charles Darwin

 

The common theme of this 12-year tribute and Captain Kevin’s eulogy, May 23, 2003, before I share Cassandra’s Curse below and additional facts?

 

Kevin’s predictions began prior to the night of his death, and continued through his funeral.

 

Kevin’s predictions included specific wording on funeral wreaths at his funeral and the (very) large floral bouquets at Dalton’s Funeral Home – more truth).  Fact.  “Beloved Father” — “Loving Husband” —

Yep.  Can’t Make This Up. 

From the same good people who told Kevin’s parents and myself that “it could have been a triple homicide and he was waiting for…”

And the bouquet that Kevin’s parents sent? 

I watched it brought into the small room. placed at the front – briefly. 

Then it was removed by a grieving family member and moved to the back of the room.

Yep.  Can’t Make This UP.

 Kevin’s predictions included actions of others and details of his burial, and unfolded so rapidly that it was breathtaking to watch.  Fact.

“That which opposes, produces a benefit.”  Heraclitus

 Thus, I documented.  Then, I shared with others who also had been given predictions by Captain Kevin prior to his death.

 Captain Kevin shared his predictions with others, asking each to document his predictions – and to then share the predictions with his sister.  Fact.

 

Tonight’s sharing is updating and detailing the 12-year predictions.

 

“The brain processes sequential information in a linear way.

Measure the risk, go over your notes and go upward.”  Steve Wynn

 

As I began to write this, my father (Kevin’s dad) was – was – in poor health with multiple serious health concerns – including the diagnosis of hepatitis C from a blood transfusion.

 Yes, Dad, Emmett, was – was – a veteran, too – diagnosed with Hepatitis C, too, until September 23, 2011.

 Last year as I wrote Kevin’s 11th year Tribute, I followed Dad to Intermediate-ICU, ICU, multiple hospitals, and multiple rooms.

 

I sat in bed with Dad; my back at the foot of his bed, leaning on a pillow.

I placed my feet by his elbows, and we would move all his IV lines (to include the bleeding lines).

 

Day after I day I sat with Dad, truly at the foot of his bed.  It is a bittersweet memory.

 

Intimate discussions ensued as I sat, read, and worked.

 

And I worked on this tribute as Dad worked to walk, received his multiple hyperbaric chamber, HBO, treatments – oh, he wanted to live.

 

In six months, in all the hospitals, in all the rooms, only two people came in the room, looked startled and asked, “WHO are you?”  Dad and I would giggle. 

I would respond, sincerely, “I am his third wife.”  “Oh,” was their reply.  Dad would laugh and laugh.  My reply was simply to hear Dad laugh.

 

Dad would then poker-face, “My wife of 58 years is going to be ‘very’ upset.”

 As I worked on the 11-year Tribute, Dad would say, “I still miss Kevin, and I can’t help but wonder if I should have done more.  I know I should have done more.  I should have.  No parent should ever have their child died.  None.  But ‘my’ child did.  My child, and I wasn’t able to help him.”

I would just hang my head, silent.

 

As Dad received his treatments, he always shared with hospital staff that he was HCV positive.

 

I did see the momentary pause on technicians and medical staff.

Dad also told “housekeeping” staff, to be careful picking up anything that had blood on it.

He was the medic, the teacher, the educator – always.

 

Dad and I would look to each other, not blinking.

 

Dad, the psych counselor, educator, teacher, avid-life enthusiast, would say, “You need to know this before you treat me.”

Then Dad would ask if they knew about hepatitis C.

 

Dad would, as an educator, counselor, with an air of confidence to quote, “let them feel at ease” – unquote, would begin to talk about the hep C virus.

 

And Dad would say, “My son had HCV, too.”

I barely moved during those conversations.

 

I did see that this advocacy for HCV, hep C, was a healing tool for Dad, Army veteran, diagnosed in 2004 with HCV after a 1983 blood transfusion.

 

When the hospital staff thanked Emmett, Mr. Donnelly to each, for helping them and teaching them, Dad would smile, “I knew nothing about this until my son was given the virus during army experimentation.  My son worked to help others.  I learned a lot from my youngest son, the son who died before he should have.  Now I teach others, so they may avoid what my family and I have lived through.”

 

Dad had such a reassuring manner.

People he was speaking to usually leaned over to touch his arm, to thank him.

Dad would smile, look to me, and we’d have that nonverbal communication we knew oh so well.  Fact.

 

Later, Dad would ask, “Do you think I helped them?  I wanted to.”

 

I always smiled and said, “Yes, Dad, you done great.  You did help that nurse (fill in the blank with proper title).  You were the teacher.”

 

Dad would move the multiple, large machines and IVs, and sit taller in his bed (I was still seated at the foot of his bed, facing Dad) – as he was nearing his descent to under 100 pounds, and Dad would say, “That makes my day here better, and I know Kevin would be proud, too.”

 

Our father was diagnosed with HCV, hepatitis C, a few years after Kevin’s death.  Fact.

 

“No matter what they say, they’ll see in time, I know.

When destiny calls you, you must be strong.  I may not be with you.

They’ll see in time, I know.

Just look over your shoulder.  I’ll be there … always.”  Phil Collins

 

Kevin’s diagnosis was two days before Christmas, 12/23/97, when the doctor, reading from a chart in his large office, seated behind a large desk, looked at the chart, glanced up to Kevin and said, “You have hepatitis C.  You’re not a candidate for a liver transplant, you have two years to live, and Merry Christmas.”  Fact.

 

“I am a boxer, and I’m going home.  I am leaving, but the fire still remains.

Lah, lah, lah, lah, lah, lie, lie, lah, lah, lah, lah.”  Simon and Garfunkel

 

As Kevin, a scientific researcher and avid sportsman, asked questions about HCV in 1998 and 1999, he began to apply techniques he learned in the military and also while Kevin studied with nobel laureate nominees.

 

Kevin was not a one-trick pony.  No.

 

He was a man with many talents, interests and many of his skills served Captain Kevin well when he learned he “would die from hep C” and Kevin learned there was little information about this illness in 1997.

 

In short, Kevin drew to the quick – quickly.

 

“I got a right to be lonely when you’re gone.  Well, it’s so easy to give advice when you ain’t the one who got to pay the price. Served with a letter sent to Whom It May Concern.

A lesson learned hard nearly got me down; I got a right to be wrong.”  Dickey Betts, Allman Brothers

 

As Captain Kevin researched accurate information and his personal medical records within the Army, funky things began to occur in his personal world.  Very odd events occurred.  Fact.

 

“We don’t need no education.  We don’t need no false control …

All in all, it’s just another brick in the wall.

If you don’t eat your meat, how can you have any pudding?”  Pink Floyd

 

I have documented multiple true events – the truth – in prior tributes.

Each may be found at www.captainkevindonnelly.com

 

“And each day I learn just a little bit more.  I don’t know why, but I do know what for.

If we’re all going somewhere, let’s get there soon.”  Elton John

 

Why?  I gave him my Word.

 

Kevin’s book “The Panama Story” was written one chapter each evening in 1998.

 

Captain Kevin wrote a fascinating story about the 1942 creation of the hep C virus and wove the facts into a fast-paced John Grisham-style novel, so veterans and individuals would want to read the truth and would enjoy reading his factual documentation.

 

“Oh my soul – be prepared for him who knows how to ask questions.”  T.S. Eliot

 

Kevin’s story is available www.captainkevindonnelly.com

 

Multiple professional movie producers have approached me about making Kevin’s story into a movie.  Truth.

 

“It’s not over; it will never be over for you, soldier, soldier.

Do you remember the war?  It’s not over.  It’ll never be over for you.

It’s not over, till they stop playing war with you, soldier, soldier.”  Stephen Stills

 

Tonight I want to share the predictions that Kevin had me listen to and which he asked, “if you can, please share.”  Thus, I share.

 

“A wonderful harmony is created when we join together the seemingly unconnected.”  Heraclitus

 

I documented his predictions right after his death – all 100 % correct.

I documented his predictions for six months, one year, three years, five years, and seven years.

 

“No one said it would be easy.  No one said it’d be this hard.

No one said it would be easy.  No one thought we’d come this far.”  Sheryl Crow

 

Kevin had 5-year, 10-year, 12-year, 15, and 20-year predictions.

 

“And the playing stopped in the playground now … and soon we’ll be learning; the lesson today is how to die.

And then the bullhorn cackles, and the captain tackles with the problems and the how’s and the why … and you can see no reason.

What reason do you need to die, to die?” Tori Amos

 

Why?  I gave him my Word.

 

“Well, by and by, way after many years have gone, it’s up to you, brother, to try and try again.  So, hear us now.  We ain’t wasting no more.  Don’t forget the pouring rain.”  Allman Brothers

 

This tribute includes Cassandra and her truth.

 

Greek mythology shares the tale of Cassandra, a beautiful woman.

 

Apollo gifted Cassandra with the ability to see the future.

 

Cassandra’s curse began after she scorned Apollo’s affections.

 

The result?

 

Apollo cursed Cassandra’s ability to predict prophecies, so no one would ever believe her accurate predictions and her prophecies.

 

Cassandra’s Curse is a known reference in the study of history, mythology, and literature.

 

Cassandra’s Curse is an appropriate reference here with Kevin’s predictions.

 

In 1997, 1998, and 1999 and until his death 12 years ago tonight, Kevin’s predictions were not believed – though they have been accurate as time has passed and facts, individuals, and the virus have moved forward.

 

“I used to feel so free, but now my back’s against the wall.

Doctor, doctor, what’s going on?  Can you tell me what’s going on?”  Bizzy Bone

 

“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself.

Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”  George Bernard Shaw

 

Why?  I gave him my Word.

 

“Brother, brother, brother, there’s far too many of you dying.

You know we’ve got to find a way. What’s going on?  What’s going on?”  Marvin Gaye

 

Kevin’s predictions were well documented prior to his death.  Fact.

 

I know that Captain Kevin would be proud of the progress and access to information now, and he would be downright angry at what remains to be accomplished or shared.

 

“If one throws salt at thee, thou wilt receive no harm unless thou hast sore places.” Latin proverb

 

Captain Kevin predicted in 2010 and 2012 that hepatitis C – the diagnosis – not necessarily the research or the funds and celebrities wearing ‘ribbons’ – Kevin predicted the words ‘hep C’ would begin to mainstream into television and movies.  True.

 

“Walk away from anger, walk away from pain, walk away from shame – walk away from sorrow, walk away from yesterday, walk away from tomorrow.”  Sting

 

Each time the words hep C are voiced (on TV and radio) and placed into print I have a momentary gasp, and I make a note that this is a step forward.

 

“There’s a law of the jungle, there’s a law of the land.

If you get caught in the middle, you try to make it the best you can.”  Bonnie Raitt

 

Within the past few years, the words hepatitis C and hep C have been used within multiple news stores, television shows, and below is only a sampling with references used with greater frequency.

 

SNL, Saturday Night Live, opening ceremony, season 36, episode 15, February 12, 2011, comments about hep C.

 

“The Pacific”, Part 8, HBO movie, May 2nd, 2010, mentions hep C with marines in WW II.

 

“You Don’t Know Jack,” HBO’s movie, April 2010, documents Jack Kevorkian having a conversation with his assistant Neal Nicol (portrayed by Al Pacino and John Goodman).

 

Neal Nicol, “35 years ago you came down to the basement lab and talked to all us med techs.  You were the only doctor in the whole hospital we didn’t think was a pompous son-of-a-bitch.

Jack Kevorkian, “Well, that was your first mistake.”

Neal Nicol, “And I let you stick needles in me and transfuse cadaver blood.”

Neal Nicol, “Shit, you weren’t the only one who got hepatitis, Jack.”

Jack Kevorkian, “Yeah, we had some good times.”

Neal Nicol, “Yeah, you had purpose, Jack …”

 

“Treme’s” episode 8, “All On A Mardi Gras,” HBO, June 6, 2010, also details a conversation about a character with hep C.

 

Parade Magazine, August 1, 2010, “Unwrapping Medical Mysteries” by Dr. Ranit Mishori, page 12.

 

“New technology is revealing medical clues buried for as long as 3,000 years …

Dr. Mark Spigelman of the Kuvin Center for the Study of Infectious and Tropical Diseases at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University.

 

Author, Dr. Mishori, writing about unearthed mummified bodies after a construction boom, “Take, for instance, Hepatitis B, one cause of liver disease.  Spigelman’s team found it in the 500-year old mummified body of a South Korean boy.”

 

Why?  I gave him my Word.

 

“The time to hesitate is through, there’s no time to wallow in the mire.”  The Doors

 

Each casual mention, conversation or reference in a show, movie, or respected professional articles reflect that the words hep C is mainstreaming slowly –.

 

“Let me remember things I don’t know.”  Credance Clearwater Revival

 

Place the casual references together in just the span of the past three months – without attempting to Google the term, and this is an interesting observation.

And there have been many, many more references to hep C, casual references, on television and cable.  Fact.

 

“I used to feel so free, but now my back’s against the wall.

Doctor, doctor, what’s going on?  Can you tell me what’s going on?”  Bizzy Bone

 

The references are simply additional 10- and 12-year predictions of Captain Kevin Drue Donnelly.  Truth.

 

Kevin also predicted that interferon, a drug that was used to treat AIDS/HIV in 1980s, would become “mainstream common” with hep C treatment.

 

“Follow the money.”  Deep Throat, Watergate

 

When I took a 10-year old cat to the vet approximately seven years ago, the vet recommended interferon for my cat and shared proudly, “This drug, intereron, is successfully used to treat cats and dogs, though it is expensive.”  Fact.

 

“Rather than money … give me truth.”  Henry David Thoreau

 

I looked to my dad, standing at my elbow, who had gasped, and I said, “Dad, I’ll handle this.”

 

Then I shared about interferon within a few sentences.

 

The vet thanked me and stated that he “had no idea” interferon was used to treat people.”  Gaaah.

 

When my father (Captain Kevin’s father, too) was first diagnosed with hep C, the diplomat specialist M.D. gave Dad the HCV diagnosis on the phone (gasp), and then asked Dad to come in (driving forty miles, one way) “right away to get interferon shots.”

 

A 76-year old man was given results his initial HCV, hep C, diagnosis over the phone, 12/16/04 (almost 7 years to date of Kevin’s diagnosis, 12/23/97) and asked to start interferon immediately?  Excuse me?  By a “specialist with HCV patients and veterans” – Excuse me?  I think not.

 

“It could happen to you, just like it happened to me.

There is simply no immunity.  There’s no guarantee …”  Sting

 

I phoned individuals who worked with Kevin, individuals who shared Kevin helped them to become leaders in their area, their state and around the nation.

 

Each person was horrified and insisted that my father, at his mature age absolutely should not be treated with interferon due to severe side affects.

 

“I get on my knees and pray that we don’t get fooled again.

Meet the new boss, the name of the old boss.”  Bruce Springsteen

 

June 2010, my father was dealing with a life-threatening illness, one wherein he spoke to me “about planning my funeral.  I ‘have’ to be able to talk to someone about this, and that person is you, my only daughter, okay?”  My reply was a simple, “Yes, Dad.”

 

Though my father was in poor health with multiple issues, August 3, 2010, a doctor – self-described “specialist” – advised an 82-year old man “to immediately begin interferon” treatment.  Another gasp here.

 

“Press on.  Nothing can take the place of persistence.”

Calvin Coolidge, 30th President of the U.S.

 

When my father leaned on the oak desk while in the doctor’s office August 3, 2010, banged his right hand on the large doctor’s desk in the large office with diplomas on every wall, Dad assertively shared what he knew about his youngest son’s hep C illness, treatments and lack thereof.

 

Dad asked the specialist for results of 76-year and 82-year old men and treatments.

 

“Hmmm,” was the reply, “I will have to see if we have any.”  They did not.  Later I was told, “It is for good reason there are no results for 76-year old patients.”  Fact.

 

“Sometimes you’ve just gotta let it ride. The world is changing right before your eyes.”  Eagles

 

“No, I will not take the shots!” my mother told me later.  She was shocked at Dad’s behavior as was the good doctor.  Good.

 

I later learned from the doctor that he was “completely shocked that this very nice man did that.”

 

I smiled, silent, and replied, “This very nice man knows his youngest son died with hep C, gifted by military vaccination. We know more than the average family.  Hep C is the gift that continues to be gifted.  And I will share this verbatim conversation in my Tributes to my brother and his community.”

 

“Oh,” was the doctor’s official ending to our conversation as he turned and walked away.

 

While Dad was in all the hospitals February 28th 2011 until shortly before hospice, August 2011, I cannot tell you how many people spoke to Emmett and then to me about his decision not to take interferon.  Dad was 82.

 

I would inhale, holding my lips together as I gathered my thoughts.

It was clear my simple “No, thank you,” replies were not registering as “Hell, no.”

 

Dad dismissed each request, and oh, there were many, many requests.

 

Doctors and staff would say, “It would be covered by your insurance, Mr. Donnelly.”

 

Dad would inhale, focus, and reply, “I am over 80 years old.  I am dealing with serious issues here that may kill me, and I do not need interferon in my system right now.”

 

Still the requests continued from internists, GI docs and too many others.

 

When a few privately spoke to me in the hospital hallways, I would share just a tad about my brother, Captain Kevin, and my advocating and sharing.

 

Hospital employees pulled me aside to whisper that “— is a paid rep for the company your father and you are refusing to accept treatment from.”

 

My replies were always a simple, “Imagine that?

 

Other medical professionals privately spoke to me – all insisted their conversations “are off the record” – sharing who attended conferences for hep C treatments.  I listened and was respectful of their sharing.  I kept my opinions and facts to myself as the individuals believed the information they were privately sharing with me was “news.”  Sadly, no.  Fact.

 

When a few doctors were truly interested, I would share about Dr. Cecil and the hep C support groups (a few Kevin helped to organize in 1998).

 

I would share that I – we – knew quite a bit about interferon and declining treatment was a decision that was not going to be changed.

 

Then I would watch their far away glance and listen to more words.  Gah.

 

Some people in the medical field just didn’t get it.  That was very clear to me – and sadly, to Dad.  Fact.

 

One doctor, in a private conversation to me in the hallway (Intermediate ICU) outside Dad’s room, said, “I have read the studies of the hep C treatments.  Your father refuses to treat.  He refuses.  Have you read the Cecil Studies?”

 

I smiled, paused, and politely replied, “Sir, I have had the honor of meeting and dining with Dr. Ben Cecil.  My brother was working to put a prison forum online for Dr. Cecil with Phyllis Beck (Oregon) the night of Kevin’s death, August 4, 2000.”

 

The doctor, pushed his eyeglasses down his nose, leaned in to me and asked, “Who are you again?  You have met Dr. Cecil?”

Me, “Yes, sir.  He’s talented, wise, and has a grand sense of humor.”

 

This is why I continue to share Captain Kevin’s Truth and his legacy.

 

That doctor never asked Dad to ‘treat’ again.  Others did, but that one.

 

When I told Dad later, Dad giggled.  “Good,” Emmett replied.

 

Dad, “My son’s work will help others.  It will continue to help others.  Kevin’s work, and it seems, Kevin’s death, will help to educate others.  Just don’t mention this while your mother is around.  She will fall apart at the mere mention of Kevin’s name.  You know this.  And with her having been in ICU for nine days, LTAC (long-term acute care), and all the hospitals, she is just now starting to walk and to sit up again.  While I’m in the hospital here, promise me you won’t tell her about this.  Okay?  Now if I could just walk down the hall I know I’d feel much better.”

 

I understood the request, promised, and then Dad smiled.  Fact.

 

“If elephants could fly, I’d be a little more optimistic, but I don’t see that happening any time soon.”  Shania Twain

 

Others are now on this path as Kevin predicted.

Others will be given inaccurate information Captain Kevin predicted.

 

Kevin’s father was given hep C inaccurate information routinely as Dad laid in bed, working to live.  “I still have things I want to do.  I am not ready to die,” he insisted.

 

Privately, Dad and I would talk that if he, we, did not know what we did about the virus, the immune system, interferon and Dad’s age – Lord, we might have made a different decision placing my ‘faith’ in the medical team.

 

Thank you, Kevin, and to others who taught us that lesson – an 83-year old man who was dying and did die – continued to decline their requests for interferon treatment.

 

Privately, I would watch Dad when these discussions occurred.  After a period of time, he actually used some of his Irish anger and targeted that energy, anger, out to the people who continued to ask.

 

I sat, listening, listening, oh, so proud of Dad as he hammered a few of the professionals — after so many of his requests were declined, and yet they asked.

 

Dad pointed his small finger at several saying, “My son taught me – my son.  I know.  I know …”

 

Dad did mention the ‘money trail’ to a few interferon requestors.

 

I beamed with pride.

 

Choices.  Choices.  Education.  Advocacy.  Knowledge.

Then one has the benefits of true choices, not the standard “here’s what we think you need for your hep C …”

 

A few times the discussion was broached when his wife (my mom) and I were in the room.

 

I swear the three of us would just laugh.

 

The most serious of subjects, a topic where Mom still is unable to say Kevin’s name without crying –  this one repeated request just cracked us up it was discussed so often with Emmett J. Donnelly, Master of Education, veteran, medic, father to Captain Kevin.

 

Veterans will continue to receive military vaccinations Kevin predicted.

 

Prisoners will continue to spread HCV through lack of sanitary conditions, lack of accurate diagnosis and will spread hep C back into society as prisons release individuals – especially overcrowded areas with parole and early release.

 

“Why?  I gave him my Word.”

 

Individuals in rest homes will continue to acquire hep C Kevin predicted.  They are.

 

Hospitals and clinics that do not properly sterilize needles will continue to spread the disease.  They have.

 

Have you read the news reports about hospitals that have cross-contaminated with equipment and infected blood as recently as 2012?  They have.

 

Individuals receiving manicures and receiving tattoos are at risk, too, as Kevin predicted, if instruments are not properly sterilized.

 

“Open up the window, let some air into this room. I’ve seen so many things I ain’t never seen before. Mama told me not to come. She said, Son, that ain’t the way to have fun.” Three Dog Night

 

Captain Kevin predicted that people will continue to be ashamed of a disease, hep C, that continues to be labeled a “drug user’s dragon disease.”

 

Another prediction of Kevin:  the dragon disease label will have to go away as the disease mainstreams with a population that did not “do any drugs.”

 

Prior to Dad’s recent death, I would write within Kevin’s Tributes and postings: “Just ask my father, also a veteran, Captain Kevin’s father about the possibility of being labeled with ‘having used’ drugs.  And Dad now has hep C.”

 

Now that Dad died, I still think of him in the present tense before I correct myself.

 

Now I write, “Dad, a veteran, was not one who ‘used drugs’ during his lifetime.  Yet he acquired the virus through 1983 hospital transfusion.”  Fact.

 

Emmett J. Donnelly’s death certificate does not include cancer, HCV, and other illnesses that resulted.  His death certificate lists one word as cause of death:  “Dability”

 

I was stunned that one word would define how this man would be “numbered” – a term taught to me by my brother.

 

Prior to Kevin’s diagnosis with hep C, HCV, I would not have known the importance.

 

After his diagnosis, Kevin often wrote and spoke about how the cause of death leads to advocacy, education and also – to the big one – to funding.

 

When the cause of death is hep C related and does not include HCV the number is not included for calculations.

 

My family has had two people diagnosed with hep C.

Two people died with hep C.

Two death certificates, two hep C viruses, in my family – neither one lists hep C.  Fact.

 

Captain Kevin Drue Donnelly was buried August 9, 2000, in Calverton’s National Cemetery.

Sergeant Emmett J. Donnelly is newly buried in Ft. Sam Houston’s military cemetery.

 

Facts reveal that millions of adults, teens and children now diagnosed with HCV did not contract hep C with drug use.

 

I refuse to go to the corner with my head down.  I will not.

 

“I don’t care what they say any more, this is my life.  Go ahead with your own life …

I never said I was a victim of circumstances.  I still belong …”  Billy Joel

 

As facts unraveled prior to Kevin’s death – to include the actions of individuals within his residence prior to Kevin’s death August 5, 2000, and right up to the time of his death the evening of August 4th, actions and words were pretty darn cold and factually, brutally inaccurate.  Facts.

 

“Come on people now, smile on your brother.

Everybody get together, try to love one another right now.

If you hear the song I sing, you will understand.

You hold the key to love and fear all in your trembling hand.”  Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

 

Nor was Kevin’s research, address book or computer (the hep C community offered to purchase Kevin’s research, address book or computer with their funds.  Many persons repeatedly phoned Kevin’s residence and spoke to Tina (Justine) Velocci Lomonte Donnelly and to Michelle Lomonte) returned to the vet community (which offered to purchase Kevin’s information with their funds).  Facts.

 

Kevin’s five cats were taken to the shelter, as predicted by Kevin, by Kevin’s widow immediately after his burial.

 

Why?  I gave him my Word.

 

The cats were returned back to the 742 Hancock Place, Lindenhurst, NY 11757, residence August 14th, 2000, by Kevin’s grieving widow because the Bideawee Shelter is closed on Mondays.

 

“Take this message to my brothers, you will find him everywhere.  Where people live together …

I ain’t blind, but I don’t like what I think I see … You telling me things you’re going to do for me … We’re taking it to the streets.”  The Doobie Brothers

After Captain Kevin’s death, multiple boxes with files were removed from Kevin’s office.

After Kevin’s death, his German beer stein collection – (he bought beer steins, velvet wall hangings, wood carvings, and art Kevin ‘appreciated’ while Kevin was stationed in Germany and throughout his European travels as a teen, serving as a medic in the Army)  – The stein collection and contents from his office was first opened and offered to teens, friends of the stepdaughters who removed items that were Kevin’s.

After Kevin’s death, the items that were not removed from Kevin’s office were placed on the front lawn.  Fact.

Neighbors told me that they watched “kids and adults” pick through Kevin’s art work, art that he drew, crafts Kevin made, and numerous objects he had kept with him since childhood.

Multiple events occurred that stunned strangers and people who worked with Captain Kevin – And Kevin’s parents did not receive the two items (sentimental value only) they requested – two items.  Truth.  Fact.

 

It is the veterans who thanked me and continue to thank me.

It is the veterans, men, who have cried on my shoulder, leaving wet spots on my blouse, not ashamed at all, wiping crocodile tears from their eyes with their forearms.

“Heaven holds a place for those who pray, hey, hey, hey.

We’d like to know a little about you for our files. Look around you, and all you see are sympathetic eyes. Hiding in a hiding place where no one ever goes, it’s just a little secret.”  Simon and Garfunkel

Prior to Kevin’s death, I wrote this letter, September 7, 1999, to Texas Senator Phil Gramm and faxed it to 214-767-8754 and 210-366-2016, ATT: Shannon:

Senator Gramm:   I phoned your San Antonio office September 3, 1999 (210.366.9494) and had the pleasure of speaking with your professional assistant, Shannon.

 

She promptly researched my request, phoned your D.C. office and asked me to fax this letter to your attention.  She said that you “would be delighted to look into” my plea for help.

 

My youngest brother, Captain Kevin Drue Donnelly, currently is in the Army Reserves.

 

He enlisted at 17 years of age in November 1975.

Captain Kevin’s “basic training” was in Fort Dix; his medical training was within Fort Sam Houston.

 

Kevin’s unit was the 651st Medical Company … a ‘91B’ spec number, a Specialist Four while in that unit.

 

Kevin spent three years in Germany before returning to the U.S.

 

Kevin Donnelly has been actively involved with the U.S. military from 1975 to the present, September 1999.

 

Kevin was with the 651st Medical Company (an ambulance company), Coffey Barracks, Ludwigsburg.

 

The 651st Medical Company was a subunit of the 30th Medical Group, a subunit of 7th Medcom;

who now, along with the other two commands, were downsized. None of these units are active now.

 

The 7th Medcom falls under USAREUR, the highest command in Europe for American forces.

 

Captain Donnelly received numerous awards, certificates, ribbons and pins while on active duty and the reserves.

I, a layperson, do not understand all his achievements.

But I know the Army has bestowed their recognition for his excellence on many occasions.

 

Kevin was treated for “non-Hep” 24 January 1978 to 2 February 1978, 5th General Hospital, Germany, 651st Med Co. (AmB).

 

December 23, 1997, my brother was diagnosed with hepatitis C and given a terminal prognosis.

 

Through research, Kevin learned that the hep C resulted from a hep B shot that he – and his troop – received while Kevin was stationed in Germany.

 

To date (9/7/1999), most of that troop, 651st Medical Company, is dead and/or dying, as is my 40-year old brother.

 

Kevin Drue Donnelly is currently leading the international research on hep C.

 

After his diagnosis Kevin utilized skills acquired in the military, adding analytical and scientific knowledge that he learned through continued education to write his book “The Panama Story.”

 

His decision “to not sell his book” – (his words) –

 

“to avoid making money from the blood of veterans and others”

 

– that decision immediately changed his days and his nights within the 742 Hancock Place, Lindenhurst, NY 11757 residence.

 

Captain Kevin Drue Donnelly published the book, The Panama Story, free on the Internet to help others, not to profit.

 

Initially, the book started out as a short story. Kevin e-mailed his ‘short story’ to a few friends, veterans (approximately five people), and to me.

 

Friends and veterans asked if they could photocopy Kevin’s short story and place it in their military offices, their doctor’s offices, and their homes.

 

Kevin, of course, wanted to share his information.

 

When many, many requests ensued for more information, Captain Kevin Drue Donnelly expanded his writing on “The Panama Story.”

 

He placed his book free on the Internet as he wrote one chapter each night early 1998.

 

Kevin posted the story, free to all, to share knowledge and to help educate

veterans, families and the medical profession, which he continues to help.

 

Kevin helped to create the first support groups throughout the U.S.A. and the world for hep C-related issues for veterans, families, patients, and victims.

 

Currently, the mother of Purple Heart Recipients, decorated veterans and soldiers, contact my brother each day for advice.

 

Medical researchers and government officials also phone and e-mail Kevin at his residence.

 

Captain Kevin continues to compile his research from medical universities, the CDC, Center for Disease Controls, nobel laureate researchers, and many others.

 

He comforts many and shares his information freely.

 

Captain Kevin has written articles for Journal of American Medical Association, JAMA; Canadian Medical Associations; Nursing Associations; and multiple professional publications.

 

Kevin Drue Donnelly has also been interviewed and profiled in “Newsday” and also the “U.S. News & World Report” June 22, 1998 edition, with two color photos, for Kevin’s work and his research with veterans and hep C.

 

One caption within the “U.S. News & World Report” article has print under Kevin’s half-page picture that reads:

 

“VETS. Kevin Donnelly, an Army Reserve Captain with hep C, says the military is delaying and denying help for the disproportionate number of veterans who contracted the virus while in the service.”

 

Captain Kevin shares how veterans may apply for medical information, pension benefits; how individuals may receive information to best help each person and each family.

 

And he compiled lists of information for patients too ill to get out of bed.

 

This information Kevin freely shares with mothers, wives, and soldiers.

 

After his HCV diagnosis, Captain Kevin Drue Donnelly, was honored by the Lindenhurst, New York, high school where he coached sports, all pro bono, for the multiple years that Kevin freely gave of his time, teaching, coaching and enthusiasm, which he shared with children, teens, their parents and instructors.

 

Kevin used to attend parent-teacher nights for teens living with parents who were unable – or were unwilling to attend school functions.

 

Kevin would ask hard questions with teachers and students.  Then he counseled the teens.

 

Sadly, Kevin was too ill to attend the Lindenhurst award ceremony in Captain Kevin’s honor to accept the awards to honor Captain Kevin Drue Donnelly.

 

My brother phoned me and shared that his feet were so swollen he could not place shoes on his feet.

 

That night, Kevin’s hands and feet were swollen, and he was typing with a pencil in each hand continuing to help others and to research.

My heart ached for my brother.

 

Kevin Donnelly is focused on “helping others now and this time NO one gets left back!”  (He is using this phrase often as his health continues to fail him and he works alone in his residence.)

 

Additionally, he continues to assist teens with monetary assistance to attend college and works with teens to join ROTC.

 

Kevin routinely mails packages to West Point with personal handwritten notes to give the packages to soldiers with families who did not contact the cadets.

 

Kevin has heard from many West Point cadets who received his ‘care’ packages.  He has.

 

Kevin’s illness has greatly impacted his family and neighbors (where he financed and purchased a basketball court for children to play on the Hancock Place cul-de-sac near his driveway, away from traffic – after hearing car tires screech one night as children played in the street.  The driver cussed the kids for playing in the street).

 

Kevin’s illness has affected the high school sports teams, the Lindenhurst high school and their students as I am repeatedly told.

 

Captain Kevin used to design and craft handmade pins for different sports to gift to the kids and teens after a sporting event, after academic accomplishments, and often “for striving to achieve the goal.”

 

Each handmade pin has been proudly worn by the teen recipients.  (I understand now that they are coveted pins.  Kevin gifted me with several pins.  One of my favorites is a pin with a woman wearing a blue outfit, red cape and small red shoes.

 

Since his diagnosis, Kevin’s health continues to decline.

 

My reason for contacting your office last Friday, Senator Phil Gramm, is to fulfill a last request of my brother:

 

Captain Kevin Drue Donnelly, Lindenhurst, NY, would like to be buried in Arlington Cemetery.

 

My husband and I flew last week, September 1999, to say “good-bye” to Kevin.

As we were leaving, I asked Kevin where he wants to be buried.

 

Kevin quickly stood proud, very tall in military pose, and quickly saluted.

Then he placed his hand over his heart.

 

Without hesitation, Kevin enthusiastically said, “Arlington!”

Startled, I asked, “Why?”

 

Again, without hesitation, Kevin said, “Because that’s where our heroes are buried – at Arlington.  I want to be buried with vets.”

 

Our mother’s grandfather was a Civil War POW, captured and imprisoned twice with the 7th Texas Infantry.

Underage, he enlisted for the Civil War as a flutist, which is listed on official documents.

Adolphus Floyd was first captured during the winter of 1862, and taken to Fort Donelson, Tennessee.

He was released from his first imprisonment during a prisoner exchange in the summer of 1863.

Our great-grandfather was recaptured and taken to another POW camp before being released to fight in Chickamauga, Tennessee.

After his second POW release, the Civil War soldiers were all told “to go home,” and the soldier, Adolphus Floyd, walked home to Texas, close to death.

One uncle, our mother’s twin, enlisted, served in WW II with the Marines who landed in Iwo Jima, Okinawa, Saipan, and additional islands, before he was shot multiple times, on ship, and returned to the states.

 

We are also descendants of an Alamo fighter, Dolphin Ward Floyd, who died within the walls.

We were always taken to the Alamo to view the plaque honoring our relative within the Alamo, San Antonio, Texas.

 

Kevin and I were raised by two parents, each teachers, who instilled the history of our families each night at the dinner table (promptly at 5:30).

 

Each night we learned history and were told, “You come from strong stock, strong roots.  Always remember this.  Always.”

 

We have visited, camping in 48 states and Canadian provinces.

We have tracked many, many battlefields tracing the history of our family ancestors and learning history and fact (per my parents, each teachers).

 

And my brother is so proud to continue to serve his country.

 

As a direct member of Kevin’s family, I am forwarding written permission to access Captain Kevin Drue Donnelly’s military records to ensure that the young man –

 

– who has helped thousands and thousands of people on the Internet, and the phone,

 

– who has assisted and counseled hundreds of children in his town, Lindenhurst,

 

– and who has assisted the mothers and wives who have buried their sons and husbands.

 

I acknowledge there are hearts and souls that I, Kevin’s Sister, will never know how they were touched by Kevin’s compassion, his scientific research, and his personal contacts.

 

I truly believe Captain Kevin Drue Donnelly deserves to be buried among heroes and with vets, per his final wishes; don’t you, sir?

 

Thank you for your interest,

Monette Benoit

Kevin’s Sister, September 7, 1999″

 

And the reply from Senator Gramm’s office 1999 to 2010, though I phoned again and faxed the letter three times?  Not one word. None.  The truth.  Fact.

Twelve years tonight my brother died – alone.

 

I will continue this conversation.

This is my brother’s dying wish.

 

“Why?  I gave him my Word.”

 

“Open your eyes and forget the day, and you’ll see things in a different way.

Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow.  It will soon be here.

It will be here better than before.  Yesterday’s gone.  Yesterday’s gone.”  Fleetwood Mac

 

This conversation has already prevented others from receiving and accessing inaccurate information about hepatitis C.

 

“Look over yonder and what do you see?  Love, love is the answer, and that’s all right.

So don’t you give up now – so easy to find.  Just look to your soul and open your mind.”  Tommy James and The Shondells

 

This conversation has assisted mothers who take care of their sons, their soldiers, when no one else will help them, after their disease advances.

 

This conversation has already assisted young teens and young adults who thank me for sharing, stating they cannot find this information.

 

This conversation has assisted children who are living with the stigma of having a veteran, a parent, a family member or their own diagnosis.

 

This conversation has to continue.  It must.  It will.  The truth.

 

“One thing I got to tell you is that you got to be free; come together right now over me.

Hold you in his arms, yeah, you can feel his disease.

Come together right now over me.”  The Beatles

 

Just as a mother teaches their child to look both ways before they cross the road,

So too must we continue this conversation.

 

Learn, listen and share.

 

Educate, advocate and prevent intolerance.

These are some of the predictions Captain Kevin knew would be a long time coming.

 

He knew. Yes, my brother Kevin truly knew The Truth – Captain Kevin’s Truth …

 

“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”  Martin Luther King, Jr.

To Be Continued … Why?  I gave him my Word.

 

Kevin’s Sister

Monette Benoit

Monette@ARTCS.com

www.CaptainKevinDonnelly.com

“Why?  I gave him my Word”  One Salute At A Time

 

2014 – 14th Year, Gone Today, Won’t Live Longer, and Bono, Captain Kevin Donnelly

Posted:  August 5, 2014

2014 – 14th Year Tribute, Gone Today, Won’t Live Longer, and Bono, Captain Kevin Donnelly

 

Captain Kevin Drue Donnelly died 14 years ago today.

I am still documenting – as I promised Captain Kevin, my youngest brother.

Our dad died – soon after I posted Kevin’s 11th Tribute.

Our mom, my dear mommy, is close – now in hospice.

Mom, still CANNOT say ‘Kevin’ – her youngest child’s name.  Still – not since August 5, 2000.

She can say the name of his widow, in-laws, stepdaughters… she knows her truths, too.

Mom can accurately – though in whispers, still – state the facts as we were told, then the lies that were corrected.  Still.

When doctors now ask her to name her children -for medical records- Mom will spell the first three letters of his name, then buries her face in her two hands.  Still.  Still.  Dang IT.

As I continue to honor Kevin’s request to listen, I am witnessing events and sentences that are stunning.  Still.

We continue to move forward assisting veterans, their families, and individuals with HCV.

We continue to take steps.

We continue to advocate.

We continue to take chances.

As Captain Kevin did.  Indeed, he did.  Did.

“When you stop taking chances

You’ll stay where you sit

You won’t live any longer,

But it’ll feel like it.”

Bono, Irish Activist, Musician

“Why?  I gave him my Word.”

Kevin’s Sister,

Monette Benoit

www.CaptainKevinDonnelly.com

HV with HCV = Helping Veterans and Families with Hep C

One Salute At A Time

Copyright protected.

2018 – 18 Years Tonight… Captain Kevin Drue Donnelly Died

Captain Kevin Drue Donnelly died 18 years ago tonight, 8/5/00.

I honor Kevin’s work helping veterans and families with HCV, Hep C, research.  Kevin’s truths are listed: www.CaptainKevinDonnelly.com

My youngest (he hated the word ‘baby’) brother served 20+ years in Army — his detailed, documented predictions continue to arrive.

I include Dad, Emmett James Donnelly, here as he was diagnosed- died with HCV, also.

Kimono of my heart open, head down, I salute and ask for prayers.

~~ More to follow. Promise.

“Why? I gave him my Word I would – if I could.”

I am.

Kevin’s Sister…

Monette Benoit

2019 – Captain Kevin Donnelly, 19 years; Update; Truth; Yes, More Facts

August 5, 2019, update for Captain Kevin Donnelly is ready and will be expanded.  Why?  I gave him my Word.

Though Kevin is gone now 19 (!) years today, his research-work that ‘did’ disappear, his predictions that did ‘not’ disappear, truths and actions of people around him near his death and thereafter -when combined with facts how veterans and families advocated for HCV, Hepatitis C, treatments – the compilation reveals amazing acts by strangers, family, estranged family (we all have ’em, yes?), the medical community, and companies -large and small.  The “dollah” does affect many, as Kevin predicted.

Kevin -and others who died with HCV- to include my (our) dad, Army veteran, would be amazed how wide and how far challenges unfolded.

Neither Kevin’s August 2000, nor Emmett James Donnelly’s September 2011, death certificate list Hepatitis C.   Nope.  Neither.  Nadda.

Yet, both, each veterans, died with Hep C, as evidenced in all medical reports and by multiple doctors.

Diagnosed, late December 1997, Captain Kevin was given a death sentence of approximately 2 years by the doctor reading from a clipboard.  Kevin was in his mid-40s.  Really.  Damn.  From?  You’re not supposed to ask, we’re told.  Source: military vaccinations.  Documented.

Diagnosed, years later, my dad, was told over the phone (!) about his HCV and advised to come in “immediately” for Interferon treatments.  Dad was in his late-70s.  Really.  Damn.  From?  Again, not supposed to ask.  Source: blood transfusions in hospital.  Documented.

LeighAnn Vogel, Army veteran, was the go-to-person -my mom and I reached out to prevent Dad from  accepting the “many” offers to “immediately begin” Interferon, via new “telephone diagnosis.” Damn.

LeighAnn Vogel passed January 2015.  She needs to be saluted for her tireless advocacy and work -with Captain Kevin (they were like siblings who could laugh ‘and’ argue in a heartbeat and stay focused).  She continued the HCV work, post-Kevin’s death.  LeighAnn Vogel also fought for veterans and families, changing the course of this disease and treatment possibilities.

People now diagnosed with HCV have medications, cures (!), and possibilities that are available – depending on available funds – that Kevin predicted would come.  His predictions, for better and for worse, have bloomed, and many – too dang many – are spot-on – within timelines Kevin established would occur post-death – yes, “dollah.”

I promised Kevin, my youngest brother, that I would document, would update, would continue to share his truths, and I am.  The work is backed-up and expands.

Goals continue to be established and met. We continue -as we bring facts and truth from the past and focus on our documenting.  Why?  See below.

“Why?  I gave him my Word.”

Kevin’s Sister

www.captainkevindonnelly.com

HV with HCV = Helping Veterans and Families with Hep C

One Salute At A Time

2003 – Eulogy for Captain Kevin Drue Donnelly

 

www.CaptainKevinDonnelly.com

 


The Eulogy for Captain Kevin Drue Donnelly
May 24, 2003
Washington D.C.
Saturday p.m.  ©
©   Monette:  “Thank you to all of you who have shared since Kevin’s death.  Thank you to all of you who have collected and gathered, since Kevin’s death.

And, I, Kevin’s Sister, thank you all for being so kind.  With Eugene at my side, this is how ‘we’ honored  Kevin, together.

We honored Kevin Drue Donnelly as he had not been honored during his funeral, during the church service by his widow, Tina Velocci Donnelly, and we honored Kevin as he might have been honored at the graveside, had anyone stayed and waited for the coffin to be delivered to Kevin Donnelly’s last resting spot.

Kevin never had a eulogy.  Now at last, he has received the respect, so important to his birth family. The eulogy was also a way to move forward, to remember the past; embracing both, moving forward together with the new people that have come into our life since Kevin’s sudden and tragic death. God bless you all.

KEVIN’S SISTER: “My name is Monette Benoit; I am Kevin’s Sister.

This is Kevin’s best friend. Eugene Simonson met Kevin when he was in second  grade, and Eugene Simonson was Kevin’s best  friend. When I received a small box that we received from his estate, there was a photo album in it.  And the last page in the photo album, which Kevin had made, had the second grade picture of Kevin and Eugene standing side by side in second grade together

Eugene grew up in my home.  My mom and dad helped raise him, and there were many a morning when I stepped over Eugene sleeping in our home, after I got up in the morning.

After Kevin died, Eugene came to the funeral; when he could, to the wake. 

Eugene was the one person who came the night I was sitting alone in the small room with Kevin’s casket at Dalton Funeral parlor.

Eugene was with me for part of the burial. He arrived today with the Harley Davidson group, Rolling Thunder, honoring Veterans this Memorial Day Weekend.  He’s with his friend, Pat tonight, and Eugene is a deacon. They work with the prisons.

When he and I were at the Calverton Cemetery as everybody left, I asked Eugene to say a prayer for my mom and my dad because my dad had just had cancer surgery, and Dad couldn’t attend the funeral, my brothers stayed with my mom and dad.

And Eugene let loose a prayer.  Boy howdy, he let loose.  He hugged me, tucked me up under his ribs, and he let it go.

Then Eugene stood in line with me to find out where the casket went.

Eugene went to the freshly-dug area in the cemetery, to find the hole in the ground because the casket was quickly removed.

The men (employees?) at the Calverton Cemetery had another funeral, waiting, and they insisted on removing the casket from the spot where it had rested briefly, taps played on a tape recorder in the bushes, two military servicemen handed the American flag to Kevin’s widow. 

Eugene stayed as the black limousine, the Velochi family, Kevin’s widow, Tina [Justine] Velocci Donnelly, and three stepdaughters suddenly departed. 

Eugene stood with me, on line, at the Calverton main office where I waited to ask where the casket ‘had gone’… 

Eugene went with me to the place where Kevin’s casket was to have been delivered. 

Eugene stood with me, waiting for the men to deliver the casket and to place the casket into the ground — after they came back from lunch.

So I wanted him to be here tonight. I would like Eugene to say the first prayer because he knows my parents and my brothers, and I had his Word that he would do this tonight.  So, would you all mind bowing your heads with Eugene.

DEACON EUGENE:  “I know that we come from all different places in terms of God, and the intention here is not to offend.  The intention here is to ask God for something, to bless us, and I know sometimes it is difficult to think of God or to see God when we are suffering from things and we have pain, but we have to remember that it’s the very pain and suffering of Christ that enables us to go to God, and it points us to God, and sometimes we get into that suffering and pain, and we stop fooling around, and it causes us to cry out to God, and so I’m going to ask God for some things tonight because he’s a good God. Okay? So if you want to bow your head and join me let’s ask:

                   Heavenly Father, we thank you for having gathered these people here tonight.  We thank you for bringing them together in their compassion for one another, Father, to uphold one another and support one another, and we thank you for your compassion for us.

                   Father, I ask for your peace in this room, and I ask for the peace in the lives of the people in this room, Father. I ask for healing hearts, healed relationships, and I ask for wisdom, Father, for the doctors and the researchers who are working on Hep C that you might, in your infinite power and wisdom, give them what they need to know to
bring a cure to these people and their family members, Father.

                   I pray for every soul here, Father. I pray for salvation, and I ask that you  might do all this in the name of Jesus, Amen.”

                   AUDIENCE:  “Amen.”

MONETTE:  “Thank you, Eugene.

“There was a CD that I had wanted to quote one song, if anybody had asked August 9th, 2000, the day I hoped there would be a eulogy, kind words for Kevin.

I carried the CD with me then, and it wasn’t the time. This is the first time I’ve ever gotten to eulogize my brother.  The CD is by Sarah Brightman.

“Places that I’ve never seen or experienced with you …
seas that exist no more …
and when words fail me,
of course, I know that you’re with me.
Time to say good-bye.”

And I open with the special salute that I do each night in the name of my brother Captain Kevin Drue Donnelly.

Two years and nine months since the death of Captain Kevin Drue Donnelly, finally, his family and those who loved him, have a moment to pause and to honor his life, his work, his contributions, his humor, and the best of Kevin Drue Donnelly.

I am Kevin’s Sister, and I am proud to be Kevin’s sister.  We were raised in a family where Dad is 105 percent Irish. 

Mom is a 120 percent Texas. I have two brothers  —  I now — Excuse me, I just did it!

This is the first time that I’ve ever done that, and I’ve been working on this for over two years.

I had three brothers.  Wow. I now have two. 

And each day I’m stuck on that one word ‘have’ or ‘had’. Maybe I just got it.

That’s still a challenge to get past that ‘A’ — from the ‘haaaaaaave’ to the ‘haaaaaad’… 

I still work on that every day, and maybe because Eugene is here, I finally got it.

It was an interesting family each day, each morning, each evening.  Both of our parents are teachers, and we traveled the United States in a camper.  Yes, a camper, camping in federal campgrounds, most of the way. 

I often teased that I was a hostage with three brothers. 

No air conditioning, hot summers.  We were camping, think porta-potties, toilets, federal campgrounds.

Each day a new journey, another day of sitting in the car with my three brothers. Sometimes they were very long days, but we were blessed to have traveled throughout all 48 states and every province of Canada.  And Kevin had his share of pranks in many of the campgrounds, museums, civil war battlefields that my dad took us to.

Together we grew each day, whether it was in our small home or traveling the country each summer for one month. I’m saying this because I want to share with each of you, there’s an old Irish saying:  Throw your hat over the wall.

When the British invaded Ireland, they built high walls to separate the people, the communities, the families that lived in Ireland.

The Irish were proud people, like Kevin.

They had few belongings to their name, but the men always had one hat.

After the Irish built the walls, they would go to the wall.  And if one of the men really wanted something, to make a point, a true commitment, a true gesture, they would throw their one and only hat over the wall.

Once their hat was over the wall, and it was too high to see over that wall, they had to go get that hat.

This is a true story.

I know Kevin threw his hat over the wall, the wall of Hepatitis C and the wall to the military. 

Kevin was willing to go over the wall for what he believed in and for the issues that he was proud to represent, his values, his country.

Kevin threw his hat over the wall, and then he just had to go get that durn hat — many, many times.

August 4th 2000, Kevin had no hat to throw over the wall.

When he died, he died suddenly, alone. I now remind each of you here tonight that we each have a hat. 

Each of us sees walls every day.

When you see a wall that seems insurmountable, unclimbable, unbelievably hard, please think of my brother, Kevin Drue Donnelly, and just throw your hat over the wall.

You will have to go for ‘it’, your hat. 

I know I did.

Without realizing it, I threw my hat over the wall for Kevin, then Hepatitis C.

I had not intended to throw my hat. 

Yet the inaccuracies, the statements that were trying to become ‘truth’ – forced me to questions. 

Had the proper respect been given my brother and my parents, I would not be standing here now. 

I would not have had to throw my hat over the wall for Kevin Drue Donnelly and then for Hepatitis C. 

As Kevin’s sister, I would have peacefully, graciously accepted the truth, and moved on. 

Yet my standing here tonight, two years and nine months later, is proof that I had to go get a hat.

My father and mother grieve the loss of their youngest son each day. 

They were not able to attend the funeral of Kevin, due to Dad’s advanced aggressive cancer surgery.

People at Kevin’s funeral approached, one by one and some in small groups, to ask me:  Why really aren’t your parents here?

We have not had the closure of unity that some have, to begin the healing of the death of a loved one.

                   Kevin, I honor you.

Kevin, I am so incredulous to see and to feel the love here in this room, the people that have been here at this Hepatitis gathering, what they have shared with me.

I feel like a deer in the headlights, stunned, listening. 

My right shoulder has been wet from the crocodile tears that so many have shared. 

Grown men, many veterans, sharing their knowledge and respect of you and your work.  Women hugging me, holding my hand. 

Yet, it was the men who cried – a lot; they are the ones who impacted me the most with the gravity of your impact, Kevin, upon the Hepatitis community and the respect that you earned.

Kevin, you threw your hat high. 

You threw it overhand, high into the air, and I salute you, Kevin. 

I know Mom and Dad wish they could be here to honor you for all you shared, your accomplishments.

Yet, Kevin I have to share that we, your family, still miss the boy who went to all the Cub Scout meetings earning every badge, working to Eagle Scout.

We miss the Kevin who became a medic in the army and excelled in ‘all’ you did.

We miss the Kevin who laughed and shared many of your new challenges, sports, pole vaulting, mountain climbing – the many challenges you tackled and you won. We have had to go on, Kevin, sadly without you.

August 5th, 2000, the night we were told you died, when I spoke to Dad by phone, De said, quote, “Well, now Kevin is at peace. He’s at peace perhaps for the first time in a long time.”

I know you are helping others, Kevin.  I feel your energy. 

I know you are helping others to toss their hats over the wall.

I really miss you, and I really miss my youngest brother – the one who used to get all the spiders, so I wouldn’t kill them — even the little brother who found all my diaries no matter where I hid them, some with Eugene, I’m sure.  I had diaries.  They, Eugene and Kevin, found all of them.  Kevin would leave me notes in the diary to let me know he had found each one. I stopped writing diaries because of my brother.

I miss the brother who hugged me, the brother who stood my side, when I needed you.

I also really miss the brother who helped me decide whether to stay with a boyfriend, or not. He’d write a pro and con list with me. Honest, and then he would write at the end:

Put this where the sun don’t shine.

I miss the one who laughed and shared with me, and the one who in the end, died sadly alone.

But you, Kevin, you did live the life you chose, helping others. 

You did get to choose, and that last night August 4th, 2000, with no hat to toss, you went home.

Please help me rebuild Captain Kevin Drue Donnelly’s library and his research for Hepatitis C, science, the military.  That was the one request that was most important to Kevin. 

Stunned, I have to share: All his predictions sadly came true.
 
     Some of us became stronger as a result of your request, Kevin. 

I know I learned how to leandeeper into the wind, respectfully, asking in your name, over and over…

If you have emails from my brother, you can email them to me: Monette@ARTCS.com.

  I want to rebuild what Kevin requested. I salute each of you.

I am Kevin’s Sister.  I have to end with: I really miss my brother, and I thank all of you and the Hepatitis C community for all the joy and all the happiness you all shared with Kevin because I heard about the phone calls, your emails.

Kevin would often call me — there are people in this room, Canadian, American — there are people in this room — when you introduced yourself to me, I had heard about you.  I knew who you were.

I thank you for giving Kevin those moments because when you ended a phone call with Kevin, he went on to another journey.

Yet,Kevin shared many of those journeys with me and a few who knew him — before Hepatitis ever entered his world.  And so I thank all of you.  God bless, thank you.

Do what you do, say what you say: Time to say good-bye, Kevin.  ©

Saturday, May 23, 2003
Memorial Day Weekend
Monette Benoit, Kevin’s Sister.
Email:  Monette@ARTCS.com

www.CaptainKevinDonnelly.com

2003 – Happy Birthday, Captain Kevin, And Truth

Happy Birthday, Kevin Drue, 2003

By Kevin’s Sister

Monette Benoit

Copyright by Monette Benoit, All Rights Reserved.

“Why?   I gave him my Word.”

As my brother Kevin’s 44th birthday passes today, November 14, 2003; I bow my head, say a prayer, lean into the wind and share:

Captain Kevin Drue Donnelly, born November 14th, 1958, is greatly missed by his birth family, soldiers and friends who knew him personally and professionally.

As Kevin’s sister, I desire to share this past year has been one where we, as a ‘new’ family, continue to move forward, honoring Kevin’s life, which ended August 5th, 2000, too early, too sad, too quickly.

Kevin died with hepatitis – documented to result from military vaccinations – after the course of events and facts I’ve shared to be true.

For those invested and interested, you will want to know that I’ve met with a film director.

Kevin used to say:
“The only good thing about hepatitis is the family that it creates.”
I know many, many agree.
I did not understand this upon Kevin’s death.

I continue to share ‘facts’ which needed to be withheld, would be withheld and would be timely shared.
As the honorable time shortens and departs, new possibilities are created.
How sad they are being created.
How liberating it is to pull aside the black curtain and to share what transpired in his life and within his world.

Kevin’s birth family continues to heal.

We gathered for the 50th wedding anniversary of my mom and dad (a veteran) at my brother’s home (another veteran).

Kevin was greatly missed by each person, who remembered an athlete, blond-haired, bright green eyes, long eyelashes, a young man with big goals.

We spoke of him, often as we gathered.
I believe almost every man in attendance that day was a veteran.

My parents, siblings and those who ‘grew up’ with Kevin, continue to place one foot forward, one step at a time.

Though stunned from his sudden death, funeral, no eulogy, no obituary, incorrect rank on his tombstone, the actions, statements and opinions shared with Kevin’s parents and myself, to date not one phone call placed to his parents from Kevin’s legal family (in law, defined to me by the funeral director, cemetery personnel, detective, medical examiner, etc. as ‘widow’), we were respectful to others.

After the 2003 Washington, D.C. Hepatitis C rally, when I delivered the first and, to date, only eulogy since Kevin’s death, 2 years and 9 months after he was removed from the residence —  the action of his eulogy focused energy to continue honoring Kevin for all he shared and accomplished with others.

So many veterans shared.

Many cried, many shared, heart wide open.
They ‘get it’.

I continue to honestly answer questions posed to me about his personal life, the last few years of his life within the residence where he lived and communicated via email and on the phone with thousands upon thousands of veterans, hepatitis C patients, family members, journalists, media representatives, elected and appointed officials, physicians and individuals within medical professions, personnel in governmental bureaucracies, private and public institutions — the list of people with whom he communicated is astonishing.

My message tonight is one of hope.

As I wrote when you began reading this:   I recently had the honor of meeting with an accomplished film director.

I have kept my Word to Kevin, to my parents and to the people within the hepatitis C community.

Until what rightfully belongs to the hepatitis C community, Kevin’s library and e-mail address is returned, and until what rightfully belongs to Kevin’s parents (items not of monetary value, only sentimental), are returned to Kevin’s parents, I will continue this path.

This is my Word to my deceased youngest brother when we last hugged our good-bye.
This is my Word to those who were kind, helping me when I was alone, when I did not know how to look forward, when I needed the assistance of strangers to focus my life and this path.

So many people continue to urge me to share the truth, facts and this story.

My goal already accomplished, though compartmentalized, is that others will never live what I witnessed and experienced after Kevin’s diagnosis and death.

A path such as this creates the ability to become scarred — or to create tools for others to become educated with information to avoid history repeating itself.

I choose education and advocacy, as did Kevin.
I choose the truth about hepatitis C and Kevin’s life and death.

I know many adults and teens have read my messages and are preventing the ‘horror’ of what transpired in my brother’s life as he worked alone in his office, downstairs in the residence of a house where he died.

This has not been an easy road, folks.
Sometimes I sigh and listen, in the quiet moments.

Good must come from this.
To permit otherwise, would be dishonest and disrespectful to Kevin, my parents, all veterans and individuals diagnosed with hepatitis C.
It would also be dishonest to those who will contract this virus.

Did you know there’s a hepatitis J?
The virus mutates and continues to do so.

As I wrote two years ago, I documented in detail, placing the information in the hands of others, due to the ‘odd’ course of events and actions that began the night of his death.

Grief creates interesting emotions, as does anger and greed.

As Kevin’s only sister, I listened; I listened with intent and integrity.

During the meeting with the accomplished film director, I stated my goal of creating this true story into a movie, continuing to share and to advocate for veterans, hepatitis C, families living with hep C and families hoping to avoid the virus.

The CDC shares that over five million people within the U.S. have contracted this virus, a number that does not include current military personnel, veterans, homeless or prison populations.

Why do over five million people diagnosed with ‘any’ virus have to wonder why there is not more investigative reporting honestly sharing what this virus is, what is does, where it came from, where it may be going, and what will prevent the virus from being spread?

While we are asking questions, we need to include illnesses that occur with this virus and also those that result from contracting hepatitis.

I’m not a medical professional. I do know multiple complications occur with hepatitis C, which involve kidney problems, overall health issues; there may be depression, isolation, suicide.

Many of the illnesses that result or are created from hepatitis C and/or depression, do not include hepatitis as a stat, when the person is diagnosed or counted.
What a shame.

How does one track where we are headed, if we are unable to accurately track where we are and from where we have come?

Multiple diseases, symptoms and medical problems result from any disease affecting five million individuals, a number within only one country.

The public and those who follow the diagnosis of hepatitis in any of its virus stages, deserve to know origins, facts, truth and inaccuracies, which attempted to become facts.

Documentation, accurately sharing, and making a film to educate and to advocate, continues to motivate and to generate energy.

The sharing is factual and personal, stored in private places with multiple people, so we may sort what is correct, what is accurate and what is:  the Truth.

Thank you to so many who continue to share kind moments from my brother’s life.
You are the heroes, now.

You are the reason my brother worked so tirelessly.

Captain Kevin Drue Donnelly truly was passionate about education, advocacy and assisting veterans and others.

May his path never be forgotten.
May you never tread upon our path.
May we move forward together.

I focus on truth; upon what will now help others, what will help veterans, hepatitis C patients, family members, veterans in prison, hospice patients, homeless veterans and individuals, and what has become a catalyst for honor and respect.

Happy birthday, Kevin.  I know we would have spoken today, November 14th.

After your hep C diagnosis, I sent you a fountain, shaped ‘as’ a mountain with pine trees planted along hiking trails, to symbolize the mountains you used to climb with Eugene, when you were members of the Catskill’s Mountain Climbing Club.

To date less than one thousand people have accomplished what you and Eugene earned.
You wrote me that the ‘durn’ (not the exact word used) fountain kept reminding you to ‘pee’ as your kidneys were failing.

You still found humor in the dark moments.

Your last birthday gift was a calendar sponsored by a wolf association, an animal you greatly respected for its survival instincts.

This year, I send you my love and the wonderful knowledge of knowing we are moving forward in creating the movie.

Charlie Rose, PBS television interviewer and most respected journalist, here we come.

If you have moments, e-mails and memories you would like to share to become part of this movie project, e-mail me, please.

With honor and respect, I will retain confidentiality upon request; I will share what is factual – what is the Truth.

God Bless,
Monette Benoit
Kevin’s Sister

www.CaptainKevinDonnelly.com

Monette@ARTCS.com

Kevin, 58th Birthday; Plant a Tree, First, 20 Years, Plus -Second Best Time, Chinese Proverb

Happy Birthday, Captain Kevin (58, today, 11/14/16).

Birthdays were ‘national holidays’ in our family – yes.  “`Each year, each adult, and each child.  We miss you… always.

“The best time to plant a tree

was 20 years ago.

The second best time

is now.”

Chinese Proverb

“Why?  I gave him my Word.”

Kevin’s Sister

www.captainkevindonnelly.com

HV with HCV = Helping Veterans and Families with Hep C

One Salute At A Time

Optimist…Not Anything Else, Winston Churchill

For myself

I am an optimist —

it does not seem to be much use

being anything else.

Winston Churchill

Prime Minister England, World War II

 

 

“Why?  I gave him my Word.”

Kevin’s Sister

www.captainkevindonnelly.com

HV with HCV = Helping Veterans and Families with Hep C

One Salute At A Time

We Are Gifted…Whatever Cost, Must Be Attained, Marie Curie

We must believe

that we are gifted for something,

and that this thing,

at whatever cost,

must be attained.

Marie Curie

French Chemist, Physicist, Two-time Nobel Prize Recipient

 

 

“Why?  I gave him my Word.”

Kevin’s Sister

www.captainkevindonnelly.com

HV with HCV = Helping Veterans and Families with Hep C

One Salute At A Time

Endeavor To Live… Undertaker Sorry, Mark Twain

Let us endeavor

so to live

that when we come to die

even the undertaker

will be sorry.

Mark Twain

 

“Why?  I gave him my Word.”

Kevin’s Sister

www.captainkevindonnelly.com

HV with HCV = Helping Veterans and Families with Hep C

One Salute At A Time

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