Two Incredible Honors for One Incredible Human
You know that feeling you get when you’ve done a really great job and somebody takes a second to acknowledge your success? It’s a feeling—for me at least—that lands somewhere on the I’m Awesome Spectrum near “I deserve a pint of ice-cream for all of my hard work.” But it’s also a humbling feeling, and fuel for the fire to keep learning, working, and striving to continue to do a great job.
Let’s be honest though…it’s nothing compared to the feeling you get when you see a truly amazing and selfless person honored for their achievements. That feeling is much more powerful—a welling-up of pride and humility and joy that buzzes from the inside out. A feeling that makes you want to get on your feet, to clap, and cheer, and encourage everyone around you to share in the celebration.
That’s how I felt last Saturday as I watched Timmy’s Founder, Dr. Chuck Dietzen, receive the Indiana University School of Medicine Distinguished Medical Alumni Award. And it’s how I felt a few months before at Timmy’s 12th Annual Event, where Dr. Chuck was presented with the Sagamore of the Wabash Award. These two incredible honors could not have gone to a more deserving person, and are powerful testaments to the impact Dr. Chuck’s work has had on both the medical community and the Hoosier state.
Dr. Chuck, like all doctors, strives to provide important healthcare services to his patients. He’s helped Indian children with polio walk for the first time, brought modern healthcare to some of Brazil’s most isolated communities, administered life-changing therapies to his pediatric rehabilitation patients in the US, and served countless other children and families around the world. But Dr. Chuck is exceptional because he’s more than a doctor—he’s a healer. His ultimate concern for children has shaped a life where his patients are his heroes—inspiring him to give children with disabilities or economic disparities an arena to show just what they’re capable of. Whether it’s at CHAMP Camp overseeing adventurous activities for kids needing respiratory support, in the professional ring as “Dr. Doom” wrestling his patients in the annual “Timmy Takedown,” or in developing countries where his ability to become a clown or a magician can make any child smile—Dr. Chuck is committed to healing the spirit of his patients, not just their bodies.
Joe Flitcraft, a former patient of Dr. Chuck’s, knows this more than anyone. Joe was at the IU Alumni Award ceremony and helped to welcome Dr. Chuck to the stage with these words, “I met Chuck after my accident and that was 15 years ago. My parents and I were told that the best places to go in the country were in Indianapolis, Chicago, and Colorado. But after a short meeting with Chuck, my parents knew he needed to be my doctor. Our relationship goes much further than doctor-patient. We became friends very quickly at the hospital. Then he became more than just a friend…he is family to me. I love him. I can’t think of anyone more deserving of this award.”
Dr. Chuck’s keen love and respect for his patients is contagious, and he has a unique ability to instill that healing spirit in others—a gift that ultimately led him to found Timmy Global Health. As he commonly notes, “Medical school made me more knowledgeable, but my patients have made me wiser.” With the wisdom he’s gained from his patients, he continues to inspire the next generation of healthcare professionals to carry with them a desire to heal patients—body and spirit—in a compassionate, holistic way. To this day, he has inspired thousands of students from Timmy’s 55+ university and high school chapters across the US to continue that legacy by practicing medicine with a patient-centered heart.
One such person is Michael Hole, a Timmy student chapter alumni who now works as a Resident Pediatric Physician at Boston Children’s Hospital. Michael also helped to present the Distinguished Medical Alumni Award last week and introduced Dr. Chuck with these words, “If you’ve ever made a sick kid laugh, rooted for the underdog, wiped a tear from the face of someone who is hurting, or prayed on your knees for a friend at the end of this life, then you’ve known the core of Chuck Dietzen. If you’ve ever had a mentor who has loved, respected, and believed in you like his own son, then you know how I feel standing next to Dr. Chuck. It would be a great honor for me if you would stand and recognize a man who is a best friend, a second father, and a personal hero to too many people to count.”
Whoever you are, wherever you are, I invite to enjoy a little slice of that awesome feeling with us. Get on your feet, clap, and cheer, and encourage everyone around you to share in the celebration! In what ever way you can, please join us in congratulating Dr. Chuck Dietzen—a truly incredible human—on his incredible achievements.
*The Sagamore of the Wabash: The Sagamore of the Wabash award was created during the term of Indiana Governor Ralph Gates, who served from 1945 to 1949. The term “sagamore” was used by the American Indian Tribes of the northeastern United States to describe a great man among the tribe to whom the true chief would look for wisdom and advice. The award is one of the highest honors that the Governor of Indiana bestows. It is a personal tribute given to those who have rendered a distinguished service to the state or to the governor. Among these who have received Sagamores have been astronauts, presidents, ambassadors, artists, musicians, politicians, and everyday citizens who have contributed greatly to our Hoosier heritage.
**The IU School of Medicine Distinguished Alumni Award: Since 1970, nearly 60 alumni from the IU School of Medicine were bestowed the honor of Distinguished Alumnus. Awarded annually, this award recognizes outstanding alumni of the school who have brought honor to their alma mater by distinguishing themselves either professionally or by giving extraordinary service to the School.
By Sarah Hollis, Development & Communication Manager
This spring Timmy’s President and Founder, Dr. Chuck Dietzen, received two important achievement awards – the Sagamore of the Wabash* and the IU School of Medicine Distinguished Alumni Award.**